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DULUTH - There was sadness and growing anger Wednesday night from family and friends of Zach Premo, 26, who was shot and killed early Tuesday by Duluth police officers.
"I don't really think what happened was justified for what they did and i just done see any reason they had to," said Kristen Ray, a close friend of Premo.
Premo says police are portraying the Central High School alum the wrong way and that it's all a terrible misunderstanding that happened during some type of situation never meant to end in violence – and ultimately death.
"That wasn't him by any means. He couldn't hurt anybody let alone police," Ray said.
"This situation is totally off, and I don't think anybody is going to get down to what really happened."
Investigators say officers Matthew Hendrickson and Jacob Peterson were responding to a one-car crash when Premo allegedly fled the scene around 2 a.m. on the 300-block of east locust street.They say they were forced to shoot after Premo wouldn't comply with orders and after he reached for a gun.But family and friends say he'd never do that.
"It's just not right. I don't want people to portray him as the horrible person that was about to try to kill two officers, because he would never do that," Ray said.
Ray also said Premo accepted everybody, was never violent, loved photography and especially his wife of two years.The two officers were on paid administrative leave Wednesday, which is standard protocol in cases like these.Officer Hendrickson, a seven-year veteran of the department, has been on the other side of this type of story before. He was shot in the face by a suspect in 2007.The investigation into the death of Premo is being handled by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.Their report will then go to the St. Louis County Attorney's Office where the decision will be made whether the shooting was justified by officers.