Exclusive: 2 St. Paul Cops Describe Surviving Ambush

Updated: 01/09/2013 10:03 AM KSTP.com By: Jay Kolls

Two St. Paul Police officers showed extraordinary courage under fire last October. The two were ambushed by a gunman behind Hope Academy on Payne Avenue.

Officer Daniel King was hit twice, once in the back and once in the left forearm.  He is now recuperating, hoping to return to the force. His partner, Officer Brian Wanschura, was unhurt and is back on the street credited with saving his partner's life.

The gunman was armed with a 12-gauge, semi-automatic shotgun, a knife and a crossbow. When he fired on the two officers in their squad car, Officer Wanschura rolled out of the car and immediately returned fire, killing the gunman. It was the second time Wanschura had been involved in a shooting in less than nine months. The suspect's family called police telling them the man had stolen weapons and ammunition from their home and they were fearful he could harm himself. Officers King and Wanschura spotted the man and began their pursuit.

Investigating officers say the suspect was heavily armed with many rounds of ammunition. They say they do not know for sure, but given the firepower he had on him, they suspect he intended to harm many people and not just himself. They say the fact he fired on officers and then charged them with his weapon tells them he was on a mission to inflict harm and possibly kill as many people as he possibly could.

Dozens of Minnesota officers fight their way back from injury every year, and the state BCA keeps track of their injuries.

They say 145 officers were injured last year; 72 were injured in 2010; and 99 were injured in 2009. Last year, one officer was hurt by a firearm; one was hurt by a knife; 120 were hit, punched, or kicked; and 23 were hurt by another dangerous weapon.

There are agencies that offer help to injured officers. For more information, visit our Links page.

Watch raw surveillance video of the incident here.

Watch raw, extended video from our exclusive interview here.