The Hennepin County Attorney’s office has deferred a charging decision into whether to criminally charge John Rieple, the owner of Cadillac Pawn & Jewelry, a store in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rieple was previously booked on a murder accusation after a man was found dead of a gunshot wound on a sidewalk near Rieple’s business.
The shooting came during a night of intense unrest in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd after a police officer restrained Floyd with a knee pressed to his neck. Anger over Floyd’s death spilled into the streets, as people looted and torched businesses. Videos showed heavy looting at Rieple’s store. A graphic video, which you can watch later in this article, shows the shooting aftermath outside Cadillac Pawn & Jewelry, but be aware that it’s very disturbing. In that video, bystanders claim someone was “shooting from the pawn shop,” which police haven’t confirmed.
Chuck Laszewski, the Hennepin County Attorney’s spokesman, told Heavy in a phone interview that the office got an extension to hold Rieple in the jail longer, until noon on June 1, but they released him from custody when that deadline hit.
“We looked at it, and we’ve decided to defer any charging decision pending further investigation by the police,” Laszewski told Heavy on June 1. He said that Rieple should be “out now.”
Asked what further investigation is needed, he said there are a “few facts they needed to have cleared up, so we sent it back to the cops,” but he declined to specify what they were.
Asked whether it was true that Rieple allegedly thought the man he shot was a suspected looter, the county attorney spokesman declined to say. He said authorities have 90 days to make the charging decision.
In a separate case involving a businessman in Omaha, Nebraska, a bar owner named Jake Gardner, who witnesses say shot and killed a young black man outside of his business May 31 as protests raged, is not being charged criminally. He fired in self defense, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said at a press conference.
Rieple’s arrest came after Libor Jany, a journalist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, reported, via a police source, that Rieple had shot and killed a suspected looter at his business. Police confirmed in their first press conference on the shooting that they were investigating the theory that the owner of the Cadillac Pawn & Jewelry store shot a suspected looter, but they said they were also investigating other theories they wouldn’t describe. Police spokesman John Elder confirmed that one person was in custody and one person was dead but named neither.
Here’s what you need to know:
Rieple Was Held in the Jail for Days
On June 1, Heavy reached out to Elder for more details but has not yet received a response. Rieple was still sitting in the Hennepin County Jail as of the morning of June 1, according to jail records.
Elder also said he believes Minnesota’s “duty to retreat” law means a businessowner doesn’t have a right to defend their property with lethal force because it’s not their home. You can read more about the duty to retreat law here.
Records obtained by Heavy show that John Richard Rieple, 59, of Galesville, Wisconsin, was previously being held in the Hennepin County jail. Heavy confirmed through corporate records and social media that he owns Cadillac Pawn & Jewelry, which videos show was looted during the night of May 27. The jail records show he was booked on a “murder” accusation at 1:56 a.m. on May 28 after being arrested by the Minneapolis Police Department. The reason given for his arrest was listed as “probable cause.” He was being held without bail. Prosecutors will make the determination on whether he will face criminal prosecution. Heavy contacted the police spokesman on May 28 and asked if there was an update. “We have not released the name John Rieple so I cannot comment on it,” he responded.
The unrest sparked after a viral video showed a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, restraining Floyd with a knee to his neck despite bystanders’ repeated pleas that Floyd was in distress. Floyd, who repeatedly says in the video that he can’t breathe, died a short time later. Four officers were fired, but it didn’t quell the unrest, which grew throughout the night of May 27. See photos of some of the damaged and looted businesses here.
Rieple identifies himself as the store’s owner on LinkedIn. Heavy reached out to Rieple’s relative, who also works at the store, for comment and will add comment into this story if it’s received.
The Police Spokesman Said Previously That Horton Was Found Shot & in Grave Condition on the Sidewalk Near Cadillac Pawn & Jewelry
In the first police press conference, Elder, the public information officer for Minneapolis police, said that a body was found outside the pawn shop around 9:25 p.m. There was a report of a possible stabbing victim. Police then located an adult male in grave condition lying on the sidewalk. Officers immediately began first aid, including CPR.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived and assisted. Paramedics got through the crowd and transported the adult male to a hospital, where he was pronounced deceased. The wound was later determined to be a gunshot wound. “At this time, the scene is just finishing being processed by our crime lab and our homicide investigators,” Elder said.
One person, who was not identified, is in custody at this time, Elder said at midnight. The facts of what led up to the shooting are still being sorted out. Two officers arrived and one performed CPR immediately. “This was close to the area of the protests,” said Elder.
Elder called the death a “homicide.” You can watch the police press conference here.
Cadillac Pawn Lake Street Minneapolis
— Nawga (@Nawgaki) May 28, 2020
A reporter asked Elder if it was true that “the victim was someone who was looting the Cadillac Pawn shop and the store owner was racing in and took action” and Elder responded, “That is one of the theories we’re looking into.”
Elder responded that police are investigating multiple theories about what happened to the man. “The body was found outside” and there are “a couple of different scenarios that what may have happened. That’s being investigated,” he said. “We want to make sure that we do in fact have all of the facts moving forward. We don’t want to cast aspersions on somebody if in fact they weren’t doing anything wrong.” He declined to spell out the different theories.
Star Tribune reporter Jany cited a police source: “Police are investigating a homicide. They say the owner of a nearby pawn shop shot and killed a person suspected of looting his building.” He added, “It reportedly happened at Cadillac Pawn. Still awaiting details. This, from a source within the department.”
Rieple’s Facebook page says he studied at Winona State University, went to Holmen High School, lives in Galesville, Wisconsin, is from Trempealeau, Wisconsin, and is married. His top post on Facebook is a commercial for the Cadillac Pawn & Jewelry store.
The pawn shop is listed under Third Financial Corporation in Minnesota corporate records with John Rieple listed as the registered agent.
He also has a registered corporation in Wisconsin called Best Dam Fishing Float, LLC. A website for that company says, “In the winter of 2010, brothers John and Tom Rieple, purchased the historic fishing float below Dresback lock and dam #7 near LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Through past years of fishing the Mississippi river we knew the location of the fishing float was an incredible fishery. However, we both realized that to bring a quality experience to our customers, the historic fishing float would need to be rebuilt.”
Read more about Rieple here. Heavy has reached out to both Rieple and a relative of his for comment.