A 48-year-old Bloomington man accused of killing his wife and shooting two neighbors told investigators he had been arguing with his wife that night in their garage, and claimed not to remember much of what happened.
Jason Mesich was charged in Hennepin County District Court with three counts of murder, one for the death of his wife, 47-year-old Angela Mesich, and two for shooting at two sisters with the intent to kill, but without premeditation.
Bloomington police officers responded to reports of shots fired on the 8300 block of 15th Avenue at approximately 11 p.m. Aug. 30. Officers arriving at the scene heard multiple gunshots inside a home and found a deceased woman in the detached garage.
She had been shot multiple times in the head and upper torso. Officers entered the home in search of additional victims, but soon realized the only person in the house was the suspect, according to the criminal complaint.
The officers could hear Mesich screaming, throwing items and discharging a firearm in the basement. He eventually surrendered to the police, the complaint noted.
His surrender followed a standoff with police officers of approximately three hours, during which Mesich fired multiple rounds from inside the house, prompting a police officer to return fire, according to Bloomington Deputy Chief Mike Hartley.
Officers responding to the scene were not immediately aware that two sisters, 12-year-old Makayla Saulter and 29-year-old Canisha Saulter, had been shot and transported to a hospital by their family. Makayla was shot in the head while Canisha was shot multiple times in the legs, according to the complaint.
Makayla Saulter remained in critical condition and had not regained consciousness when charges were filed on Sept. 1, while her sister was in serious condition, according to the complaint.
During an interview with their mother at the hospital, officers learned that the victims lived next door to Mesich, and the family was loading a rental truck parked in front of the house when Mesich suddenly approached them and began shooting, striking the two victims and missing other family members, the complaint noted.
Following his arrest, Mesich claimed not to remember much of what happened, saying he probably killed his wife, as they had been arguing in the garage. He said he probably went into the house to get a gun and fired at her after she attempted to hit him, which he responded to by punching her in the collar bone. He assumed he emptied his gun’s magazine, according to the complaint.
When questioned about the neighbors, Mesich said that they were not good neighbors, that he hated all children and that they may have seen what happened to his wife, the complaint noted.
During a search of the home following his arrest, investigators found numerous guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, the complaint added.
If convicted of murdering his wife, Mesich faces up to 40 years in prison, and up to 20 years for each charge involving the sisters.
A fundraising campaign to benefit the Saulter family is available online at tr.im/saulter.
Although Mesich was not injured in his standoff with the police, the incident is under investigation by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office because an officer fired at Mesich. Details of the gunfire exchanged between Mesich and police officers is unavailable while the incident is under investigation, according to Andy Skoogman, a public information officer for the sheriff’s office.
Hartley likewise was unable to discuss his department’s actions following the incident, but spoke generically about incidents involving armed suspects.
Police officers do not fire warning shots and do not fire to wound a suspect. An officer firing his or her gun in the line of duty has to be able to justify a fear of death or great bodily harm to the officer or others in the vicinity, Hartley explained.
Suspects with weapons, regardless of whether they have fired shots or injured a person, are no longer considered a deadly force threat once they comply with an officer’s commands, no longer present themselves as a threat, and peacefully surrender. When those factors are met, the use of deadly force would no longer be justified, Hartley said.
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