Man shot by trooper made some bad choices, daughter says
VIRGINIA -- Ronald Hannuksela was a cement mason, a dirt-track racing fan and a good father and friend.
But he also made some bad choices in life, said his 18-year-old daughter, Alyssa Hannuksela.
Ronald Hannuksela, 50, was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon in his vehicle in Eveleth after being stopped by a Minnesota state trooper.
Hannuksela was wanted by law enforcement on three outstanding felony warrants. Authorities said he didn't comply when the trooper asked him to exit his vehicle.
Authorities say Hannuksela was brandishing a six-shot .32-caliber revolver when he was killed by multiple shots fired by State Trooper Bryan Carey through a window of Hannuksela's vehicle.
"The trooper issued a command to Mr. Hannuksela to get out of his vehicle and he was non-compliant," St. Louis County Sheriff's Office Lt. Ed Kippley said Wednesday at a news conference at the St. Louis County Courthouse in Virginia. "The suspect did have a handgun in his possession that we did recover."
Carey, 35, a two-year veteran of the Virginia district of the Minnesota State Patrol, was placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard state patrol procedure. He is a drug recognition expert and trained to detect cues of drug transportation on the roadway
Hannuksela was a native of Gilbert but lived along Highway 37 in Cherry, an area with a Mountain Iron mailing address.
Law enforcement had been actively searching for Hannuksela in connection with felony warrants in separate counties: St. Louis, Carlton and Pine.
In St. Louis County, he was wanted on an outstanding felony warrant of felon in possession of a firearm. In Carlton and Pine counties, he had outstanding felony warrants from a first-degree controlled substance crime.
Hannuksela also had convictions for harassment, stalking and violating restraining orders.
Kippley said Carey pulled Hannuksela over because the trooper recognized him.
The initial stop was made at 1:10 p.m., said Kippley. Exactly what happened after that remains under investigation.
A 911 call for help came from Carey a few minutes later, Kippley said.
Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene, but there were no signs of life. Hannuksela was pronounced dead at the scene by the St. Louis County medical examiner.
It's not yet known whether Hannuksela said anything to Carey or pointed the gun at him, Kippley said.
The gun authorities say Hannuksela brandished appeared to be loaded, Kippley said. Information is not available on the number of shots fired by Carey or where Hannuksela was hit, he said.
After additional law enforcement arrived on the scene, the gun was found on the front seat of Hannuksela's car, he said.
The incident was recorded on Carey's squad car video and is being reviewed.
A Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension laboratory will determine whether Hannuksela's gun was fired, said Jerry Koneczny, a BCA special agent. Results of physical evidence collected at the scene probably won't be available for at least two weeks.
An autopsy was being performed Wednesday by the St. Louis County Medical Examiner's Office.
Several citizens in the neighborhood heard the shots and are being interviewed, Kippley said. When the investigation is complete, the case file will be sent to the St. Louis County Attorney's Office for review.
Hannuksela was stopped in an area of Eveleth where his family members live, said Kippley. There was no indication that Hannuksela planned to harm anyone, he said.
Hannuksela worked as an independent cement mason, pouring slabs, foundations and doing brick work, said his Alyssa Hannuksela, a college student in Thief River Falls. He liked to attend dirt-track races with his other child, Nick, 12.
Alyssa Hannuksela wept before and after the news conference.
Following the news conference, she approached law enforcement and was consoled by members of the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
"We just want people to know that despite what has been reported about our father, he was not a horrible person," Alyssa Hannuksela said in a handwritten note that she gave the News Tribune. "He was a good father, son, brother, uncle and good friend to many people. My dad may have made some bad choices in his life, but in so many ways he was a good person. We want the trooper involved to know that our hearts go out to him at this time, also. We know this has to be very hard for him, too."
Carey was treated and released from Virginia Regional Medical Center for a slight hand injury received from glass when he fired through a window of Hannuksela's vehicle.
Carey has received 10 letters of commendation during his work as a trooper, according to the state patrol.