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County hopes to resolve Tokarev case by end of 2010

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom hopes to have the Roman Tokarev case resolved by the end of the year.

The 27-year-old man involved in a Dec. 2 incident in Hastings was charged by Backstrom's office last week with four felonies - two counts of assault in the second degree by means of a motor vehicle, one count of fleeing a peace officer by means of a motor vehicle, and one count of theft of a motor vehicle (temporary control).

Tokarev is currently incarcerated at the Oak Park Heights Correctional Facility.

"Our hope is to have this prosecuted and tried by the end of the year," Backstrom said. "The courts should be scheduling a first appearance soon; they will probably set a bail amount, which is a moot point here."

At the time of the incident in Hastings, Tokarev was on an intensive supervised release program through the Minnesota Department of Corrections since his release from prison in May 2009 for a 2005 aggravated robbery conviction in Hennepin County. The release program provides supervision to high-risk offenders as they transition back into the community from prison.

On Dec. 2, Tokarev allegedly stole a truck from the Elk River, Minn., home of his sister and brother-in-law. He left a suicide note at their home, which included statements such as "I'm on a suicide mission," and "I'm going all the way out once they pull me over. I'm going to shoot them until I run out of bullets," according to the complaint.

"What we believe, from the investigation, is that he was attempting suicide by police," Backstrom said. "He wanted to be shot."

Eventually, Tokarev was shot during the chase, and some of his injuries are permanent, Backstrom said.

Upon the report of the vehicle theft, a felony warrant was issued for Tokarev's arrest. A Dakota County Sheriff's deputy spotted the vehicle near Highway 316 and Vermillion Street in Hastings, and a police chase ensued when Tokarev refused to stop.

At least twice during the chase, officers from the three agencies involved believed they were being shot at, according to the complaint. They shot at Tokarev.

Backstrom has no problem with the reaction of the officers.

"This was occurring in a residential area," he said, "And they believed they were being threatened.

"What many people don't realize is that shooting someone is extremely traumatic for an officer in the line," Backstrom said. "We had three different officers - from Hastings, Dakota County Sheriff and the Department of Correction - who shot at Tokarev because they had to shoot."

When the chase finally ended near Fourth and Vermillion streets, officers didn't know if Tokarev had been shot and gave him an order to step out of the vehicle. When he didn't respond, law enforcement officers approached the vehicle and found he'd been shot.

During a search of the truck, officers recovered a pellet gun, which strongly resembles a .45 caliber handgun.