Friends Shocked by Duluth Man's Death

Posted at: 06/12/2013 4:41 PM
Updated at: 06/13/2013 6:17 AM

The man who died after being shot by two police officers on Tuesday morning, is being described as a kind, caring, and fun guy. Zach Premo, 26, was a 2005 graduate of Central High School.

"He always had a smile. And he was very athletic," said his childhood friend Kristen Ray. They grew up together in the Duluth Heights neighborhood.

But Premo's life ended in the Heights on Tuesday. He was shot by police officers outside of his childhood home. Duluth investigators said that the incident started when Premo crashed his car on Orange Street off Arlington Avenue. They said he fled the scene, and was located on the 300 block of E. Locust Street. That's where Ray said Premo's childhood home is.

Police told the media that officers found Premo armed with a gun outside the residence, and that he did not respond to officers commands for more than 3 minutes. According to the authorities, Premo was reaching for the area where the gun was, when the two officers fired their duty weapons at him.

The officers are Matthew Hendrickson, a 7 year veteran of the force, and Jacob Peterson, a 4 year veteran.

Ray said this behavior didn't sound like Premo at all. "We don't want to believe that it's true by any means. We want to believe something happened, or occurred, to make him do what he did. He wouldn't hurt a fly."

Premo was married, and had worked at the Texas Roadhouse. A check of his court records showed only two minor offenses, one was related to a floatation device and another was reckless driving.

An autopsy was conducted on Wednesday in Hibbing.

More details about what lead up to the shooting are not available at this time.