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A Mandan police officer who shot a man on Oct. 9 has been cleared of wrongdoing.

The Morton County State's Attorney's office sent a letter to the Mandan Police Department on Thursday indicating that there would be no charges filed against officer Leo Belgarde, according to a news release from the police department.

According to the release, the Metro Area Narcotics Task Force requested the assistance of the Mandan Police Department in apprehending Jared Galusha, 26, of Mandan. Galusha was wanted on several warrants.

On the day of the shooting, task force officers observed Galusha and a woman driving a red vehicle. A Mandan officer attempted to stop the vehicle at South Frontier Trail and Sixth Avenue Southeast, but the woman reportedly drove around the officer's vehicle.

The officer pulled up behind the woman, and other officers arrived on scene and parked in front of the red vehicle and alongside it in an attempt to stop it.

Police said they commanded the woman to stop and put her hands up, to which she complied. But Galusha "took hold of the steering wheel and pressed the accelerator of the vehicle."

Belgarde, who was positioned on the front driver's side of the red vehicle, heard the vehicle accelerate and drive in his direction. He fired two shots into the red vehicle, which struck a law enforcement vehicle and stopped. According to an affidavit filed in the case, one shot struck Galusha.

Galusha previously told the Tribune he was crouched on the floor of the vehicle as he saw police in plainclothes and uniforms come out from trees and bushes, lasers drawn on him and the woman. He said he was shot once in the back, and, as he put his hands up, he was shot again in the rib cage.

Galusha was charged Friday with reckless endangerment and fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer.

The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation conducted an investigation of the shooting.

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(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com)

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