HomeTop StoriesBCA identifies woman fatally shot by three officers in St. Paul

BCA identifies woman fatally shot by three officers in St. Paul

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has released the identity of a woman who was fatally shot by officers in St. Paul earlier this week. The names of the three officers involved have also been released.

According to police, officers responded to reports of a suicide in progress in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood on Monday around 7:15 p.m. When they arrived, a woman in a home on Rose Avenue East pointed a gun at officers and they shot her, police said. She died on the spot.

On Friday, the BCA identified the woman as 41-year-old Pepsi Lee Heinl. Officials say she died of multiple gunshot wounds.

The BCA said the three St. Paul police officers, all of whom fired their weapons, are now on critical incident leave. They are identified as officers Chiking Chazonkhueze, Chee Lao and Yengkong Lor.

Chazonkhueze and Lor have several years of law enforcement experience. Lao has three months of law enforcement experience.

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St. Paul police requested BCA will investigate the use of force by the officers.

BCA’s preliminary research results

According to the BCA, the woman’s mother called officers to the back room of the home when they arrived. Heinl sat there on the ground and officers asked her if she needed help.

Heinl then “quickly reached under a blanket” to retrieve a gun, stood up and pointed it at the officers, the BCA said. All three officers fired their guns, hitting her multiple times. The officers then attempted to provide life-saving care, but she died at the scene.

A gun and shell casings were found at the scene.

Officers wore body-worn cameras. St. Paul Police Department officials told WCCO they plan to release the footage as soon as possible and are working with the BCA to release it without disrupting the investigation.

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The BCA said it would submit its findings without a recommendation for charges to the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office for review.

City council members are calling for the “swift release” of bodycam footage

On Tuesday, several members of the St. Paul City Council released a statement in response to the fatal shooting of the woman.

“Our prayers and thoughts are with a heartbroken family who has lost a loved one. We are committed to providing them with support and care during this painful time. We are also grateful for city and community partners who continue to support the family as they navigate the aftermath of this traumatic event,” the statement said.

The statement continued with City Council members asking for “the swift release of body camera footage of this incident, as our police have done in the past.” City council members said releasing the footage will “increase transparency for our community.”

Mental health resources

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress, you can get help from the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988. Trained crisis counselors are available 24 hours a day to talk about anything.

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In addition, help is available from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI. Call the NAMI Helpline at 800-950-6264 or text “HelpLine” to 62640. There are more than 600 local NAMI organizations and affiliates nationwide, many of which offer free support and education programs.

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