A special prosecutor has declined to file charges in the fatal shooting of 14-year-old Jason Pero by an Ashland County Sheriff’s deputy. Pero was shot on the Bad River Reservation by Deputy Brock Mrdjenovich on November 8. St. Croix County District Attorney Michael Nieskes issued his findings late Friday afternoon.
“The deputy’s actions through the use of deadly force in this situation were justified by the circumstances he found himself in and that there is no criminal liability for the death,” Nieskes wrote in a letter to the state Department of Justice, the Ashland County Sheriff, District Attorney, and Mrdjenovich.
Nieskes found that Pero called 911 to report a person armed with a knife, and gave the dispatcher a description matching himself.
According to a DOJ investigative synopsis which was also released on Friday, Pero ignored commands from Mrdjenovich to drop the knife, and took steps towards him. According to that document, after the deputy fired the second of two shots, the teen looked at him and said “I just wanted to die.” Mrdjenovich is also heard telling that to dispatch in 911 audio that was also released Friday.
Nieskes said that an autopsy found Pero’s death was caused by two gunshot wounds to the chest. A knife was recovered at the scene.
Previous accounts of the teen’s death have been questioned by members of Pero’s family and Bad River tribal members. They have called for the resignations of Mrdenovitch and Sheriff Mike Brennan.