Court filing: Man was swinging knife while standing over Willmar cop before officer shot him

The officer who shot and wounded a man in Willmar, Minn., got off multiple shots while on his back as his attacker stood over him and repeatedly swung a knife, according to court records filed Monday.

Jerry Bernard Jones was shot Sunday shortly after 8 a.m. in the 300 block of SW. 4th Street SW. The officer was responding to a 911 caller who said he was being threatened by a man with a knife, according to a police statement.

Jones was taken to HCMC with unspecified injuries, according to a state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent who filed a search warrant seeking permission to collect a sample of Jones' blood as part of the agency's investigation.

According to the newly filed affidavit, which provides the most detailed account from law enforcement about the circumstances of Sunday's shooting:

Police were called to the scene about an altercation involving a man with a knife. An officer saw Jones on the sidewalk, where "Jones had a knife in his hand [and] started to charge the officer," the court filing read.

Jones was told numerous times to drop the knife, but he disregarded the command and "continued to advance with the knife still in his right hand," the affidavit continued. "The officers could be seen backing away from Jones to create a safe distances, but Jones continued to charge toward the officer."

Jones then was swinging the knife at the officer while standing over him.

"As the officer was on the ground, the officer shot Jones multiple times," the court filing disclosed. Jones ran but was captured a short distance away.

"Due to the nature of his injuries," Jones was taken by air ambulance to HCMC, the affidavit read. The officer was treated for minor injuries and released.

BCA agents visited Jones at HCMC, but he was unable to speak with law enforcement. As of midday Monday, the Willmar officer has yet to give the BCA a statement about the encounter.

Jones was scheduled to appear in Kandiyohi District Court on March 4 to answer to two misdemeanor trespassing cases, one filed in November and a second filed two weeks ago in connection with him having to be forcefully removed from a room at the Lakeville Inn that was arranged by a Willmar antipoverty nonprofit.

During their struggle to arrest Jones as he kept his hands out of sight, officers seized a box cutter from one of his pockets, according to a police report.

In August, a petition for an order for protection was filed against Jones by a former girlfriend who said he has assaulted her, and "in the past, I've kept my distance since he has been off his meds." She went on to say he is bipolar and struggles with schizophrenia.

According to court records, Jones' criminal history in Minnesota also includes a felony conviction for setting a mattress on fire in the Kandiyohi County jail in August 2020, along with misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor convictions for domestic assault, fifth-degree assault, a fifth-degree drug offense and fleeing police.

As the officer spoke to the caller, the release said, "the suspect suddenly exited a nearby doorway and charged at the officer with a knife." When the man ignored repeated commands to stop, the officer drew his gun and fired, police said..

The suspect fled but was arrested nearby. He was taken to CentraCare-Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar and later transferred to a facility for higher care. Police did not list his condition.

The officer was treated for minor injuries at the scene. The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was investigating.

Staff writer Andy Mannix contributed to this report.