Lots of unknowns in Olivia police shooting that killed Ricardo Torres Jr.

·3 min read

Jul. 9—OLIVIA — Very little has been released regarding the early Sunday morning incident that ended with Ricardo Torres Jr. being pronounced dead at an Olivia hospital.

According to city officials, Torres was killed during an altercation with an on-duty Olivia Police Department officer who discharged his weapon. The city news release sent July 4 stated Torres was armed and confronted the officer in an alley around 2:20 a.m. Sunday in the 800 block of Lincoln Avenue, but did not further describe what happened.

Torres was transported to Olivia Hospital & Clinic, where he was pronounced deceased, according to the release.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is now in charge of the shooting investigation, wrote in a news release that a shotgun was found near where Torres was shot and that there is no dash camera or other known video of the shooting. Olivia police officers do not wear body cameras.

The officer, Aaron Clouse, has been placed on standard administrative leave pending the completion of the BCA's investigation.

Torres leaves behind a nine-month-old son.

A public records request sent to City Administrator Dan Coughlin regarding Clouse's time at the Olivia Police Department had not been fulfilled as of publication, but Coughlin told the West Central Tribune on Thursday that he was researching how the data could be gathered.

Answers to questions about what happened in that Olivia alleyway, such as why Officer Clouse was there that night and what exactly the confrontation and ensuing altercation consist of, have, so far, been unanswered.

Vigil is disrupted

Dozens gathered as the sun set Wednesday to remember Torres.

Family and friends of Torres, many wearing white shirts that read "Justice for Ricky Torres," lit candles, reminisced and mourned their friend.

The makeshift memorial in the alleyway where Torres was killed is adorned with a cross, flowers, candles and words of remembrance.

"We love you, Ricky, and you will never be forgotten," said Natasha Lindner, Torres' girlfriend and mother to his 9-month-old child.

A portion of Ninth Street was temporarily shut down Wednesday night when mourners were confronted by people in pickup trucks adorned with American, Trump and blue line flags, who circled the block around the vigil.

No injuries or arrests were seen.

Prior contact

According to court records, Clouse chased Torres, deployed a stun gun against him and then arrested him June 8, 2019, near where Torres would lose his life two years later in Olivia.

The chase started because Clouse attempted to detain Torres after Clouse confirmed Torres had active warrants. It is unclear what those warrants were for, according to the charging document.

Torres was convicted of a misdemeanor — fleeing a peace officer by a means other than a motor vehicle. A misdemeanor for obstructing the legal process and another for disorderly conduct were dismissed. Torres was sentenced to 90 days in Renville County Jail.

On Feb. 16, 2018, Clouse arrested Torres during a traffic stop after Clouse followed him in a vehicle. According to the charging document, Clouse believed Torres and his girlfriend Lindner, who was also in the car, were known to transport controlled substances. Clouse also noted an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror.

No drugs were found in the vehicle, although drug paraphernalia was.

Torres was convicted of gross misdemeanor second-degree driving while impaired — refusal to submit to a blood or urine test required by a search warrant, misdemeanor open bottle and a petty misdemeanor for drug paraphernalia.

A gross misdemeanor third-degree driving while impaired charge, a misdemeanor driving after revocation charge, a misdemeanor proof of insurance charge and a petty misdemeanor vehicle registration charge were dismissed.

A preliminary breath test showed Torres had a blood alcohol level of 0.021 percent. The legal limit in Minnesota is .08.

The full extent of Clouse and Torres' relationship is unknown. The West Central Tribune's public records request to the city of Olivia for all known contacts between Torres and the Olivia Police Department is still pending.

Olivia is located about 25 miles south of Willmar. The town is the county seat of Renville County.

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