Family of woman shot by law enforcement feels she was murdered

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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WITI) -- The parents of an Elkhorn woman shot to death by law enforcement in Eden Prairie, Minnesota this weekend say she was murdered. She was one of two people from Wisconsin gunned down following a police pursuit on Friday morning, February 7th.

According to the preliminary investigation, the officers just after 7:30 a.m. on February 7 responded to reports of a vehicle driving erratically and at high speeds near Highway 212 and County Road 51 in Carver County.

The same vehicle was also reported to have fled the scene of a rear-end crash on Highway 212 and County Road 43.

Officers located the red Saab heading eastbound on Highway 212 and a pursuit ensued, which was reported to have reached speeds of 80-90+ miles an hour.

The vehicle had been reported stolen in Colorado in the days prior to the incident. The license plate on the vehicle had been reported stolen from a separate vehicle in Colorado.

The red Saab crashed just before 8 a.m. on Highway 212 near Dell Road in Eden Prairie.

Matthew Serbus

Matthew Serbus

The driver and the passenger, later identified by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner as Matthew Vincent Serbus, 36 of Milwaukee and Dawn Marie Pfister, 34 of Elkhorn emerged from the vehicle.

According to the preliminary investigation and officer statements, Serbus then produced a knife.

Officials say Serbus ignored repeated commands from officers to drop the weapon, and officers then fired at Serbus.

Officials say Pfister then took possession of the knife, at which time she was shot.

Both were killed. The knife was recovered at the scene.

"It's just a nightmare. It looked to me like my daughter was trying to get away from (Serbus) by that video, but with that video it's hard to tell,"

Initially, Pfister's mother and stepfather believed Serbus may have held their daughter against her will and shot her, before police opened fire, but they now know that Serbus exited the vehicle with a knife -- and according to police, ignored repeated commands to drop that knife. That's when law enforcement opened fire.

Wisconsin court documents show no evidence of a violent criminal past for Pfister -- but following an adrenaline-fueled chase, Pfister's stepfather wonders if a lethal error in judgement was made by law enforcement.

"I honestly think it was a mistake that they did. I think someone fired and I don't think they had a choice at that point,"

"It's unjustifiable. It was murder, and that's what I believe,"

Pfister's family is hoping investigators release dashcam video, so they have a clearer view of what happened. Until such time, they say they will continue to struggle with how and why their daughter was killed.

"There is nothing -- nothing that can ever replace my daughter's life. I want justice for her,"

Pfister's memorial service is planned for February 22nd. She leaves behind two children.

The Minnesota agency handling this investigation says the investigation is ongoing.

The law enforcement officials involved in this case include:

  • Sergeant Brady Juell, who has been with the Chaska Police Department for 17 years.
  • Officer Trent Wurtz, a 14-year veteran of the Chaska Police Department.
  • Trooper Mark Lund, who has been with the Minnesota State Patrol for 14 years.
  • Corporal Nathan Mueller, a 9-year veteran of the Carver County Sheriff’s Department.

38 comments

    • JBTheExplorer

      At least in FOX6 story, it didn’t say there was a double memorial service. Not sure where you heard that. Either way, its clear that this is one of those situations where parents think their child can’t do anything wrong instead of realizing that her actions lead to her death.

    • J&V

      Looks like Dawn was hurt from the crash when the officer did a pit maneuver on their car and then Matt gets out of the car, he waves for help to inform the officers that she was hurt and then he helps her out of the car and helps her walk towards the police. There was no knife, no gun on either victim. They weren’t violent people at all. The police know that and they are covering it up. They need to be charged for murder and should be in prison, not back on the force!!!

  • Sue

    Um…crazy man already dead. Crazy woman picks up knife. Sounds to me like stupid parents who raised a criminal clutching at straws to save face. Hope the innocent people they hit and run and the people they stole from are all okay.

  • Tom

    They were murdered by the officer’s. No way was that self defense. They have taisers. They could have used them. They could have shot in the hand to disengage the knife. The woman saw this was murder and they shot her to death so she could not testify. These officers should stand trial and by jury and go to prison when they are conficted.

    • Steve

      Shoot her in the hand? Good luck hitting a target that small that is moving! You just don’t sound that intelligent.

      • Gmann

        Comes a time that one or two shots to a leg or lower torso would not have caused death. Think the knife would have been dropped? These police were veterans? Not rookies? I must have missed something? Did anyone die of a knife wound.

      • Tom

        I meant hand or arm. If you can’t hit that at close range you have no right to carry a weapon. Just because someone wears a badge does not give them right to unjustly kill someone else. And that is obvoiusly what happened here.

    • crystal

      Pretty sure by the cop got close enough to taser the dude…. that knife couldbe gliding aacross this throat. Think about it.

  • Jack

    Tom your uneducated. you shoot to stop the threat not wound take a ccw class. If you shot the suspect in the hand the bullet is going to keep proceding thru. Know your target and beyond. You need to read more and think before you speak

  • Katy

    I agree and disagree with a lot of these comments. I firmly believe with the amount of officers they had at the scene, they could have gotten the knife with out killing either of the suspects and they are trained shooters, they know how to aim (not saying the hand necessarily, but another spot of the body that may not instantly kill a person), but I’m not a police officer and I wasn’t there so I don’t know the entire situation. If they had a gun in their hand instead of a knife, then a police officer does what he/she has to do in order to survive… but they didn’t have a gun, they had a knife, and I just feel a knife is a totally different circumstance and not AS threatening in this type of situation (but again I wasn’t there). Regardless, these two broke MANY laws and put so many people in danger on the road. It’s hard to believe she was there against her will, but that’s just me.

  • Abby R.

    Ok, sooooo this guy has a knife n refuses to drop it right?? Sooooo here’s my question, why didn’t they just tase him or shot rubber bullets instead of shooting live guns at a dude wielding a knife?? The only way anyone’s getting hurt by a knife is if he gets up close n personal with his target, u can shoot a taser pretty far as I’m told, so excuse me while I can’t figure this out at ALL!! It WAS murder!! Murder from trigger happy cops who could’ve handled that situation alot better if they would’ve used their heads for a moment!! Now a woman, a mother is gone, who was unarmed btw, cuz some guy had a knife. SMMFH. This is just sad. We can’t even trust those who r supposed to protect us. I hope they see this as a unnecessary tragedy n throw the book at these trigger happy donut chasers!! Sick wit it!! 😦

    • Zeek

      “Sooooo here’s my question, why didn’t they just tase him or shot rubber bullets instead of shooting live guns at a dude wielding a knife??”

      Soooooo — here’s your answer. Google Tueller. You’re welcome.

      The cops have a right to punch out at the end of their shift and not go home in a box.

      • Tom

        Yes we get it! You are an officer trained and you know best right. BS
        You don’t go for a kill shot unless you are in immediate danger. Maybe they were, I was not there. But one knife? Come on. “I guess I just like to follow the 10 commandments the best I can “Thou shall not kill” is one of them!

  • Lisa Zapata

    Why would you pick up the knife when you just saw the cops shoot your boyfriend. Cops are put at risk everyday and they have every right to shoot.

    • Tom

      I drive 100 miles to and from work everyday. I’m at risk everyday too! Doesn’t give me the right to kill people.

  • Mallet

    Its about time people take responsibility for THEIR actions. The police DIDNT make them run, commit crimes and sure as hell DIDNT make them pick up a knife. YES a knife is a deadly force situation. Those who dont believe that, let me stab you one time…you’ll change your mind real quick…..really shoot them in the hand? lol this IS REAL LIFE NOT the movies people…get real those TWO caused the whole situation to happen NOT the 4 cops…..they acted to what the TWO criminals did.

    • Cindy

      That’s exactly what I wanted to say. Why is it never anybody’s fault? My father was a police officer and I can tell you that they don’t shoot people for no reason. If the parents want to keep their heads up their backside and ignore the fact that their daughter did something stupid, that’s their own fault.

      • Tom

        Cindy i don’t thik anyone would argue that these people were acting foolishly. However, killing two people over one knife is wrong and you so called “super educated people” know it. And chasing at high speeds is even more foolish than couple who were shot to death. Other innocent people could have been killed in doing so.

  • Tom

    This guy was obviously troubled “His criminal record shows that”.
    It’s nice we don’t have to pay extra for his prison cell. However, the cops involved here need to be held accountable their actions. It’ sad that they won’t though. Government employees always have and always will “get away with MURDER”.

  • Kay

    Everybody hates the cops until they need them when a house is broken into and a tv is stolen, a cellphone is stolen, they are hit by a drunk driver,or somebody they know goes missing.

  • Mallet

    Kay you are soo right. Funny, what people blame others for nowdays. No body wants to take responsibility for their actions…just keep blaming others. Tom wow man cool video….why I hate cops…dude you must have ate paint chips as previously posted as you are NOT living in reality..You really show how you are uneducated and just blame others, meaning the cops when the two CRIMINALS started the whole thing. There is NO way you could do their job, you would be killed on your first day.

    • Tom

      I never said I hated cops the dude in the video said that. Funny how you pass judgement me because I don’t agree killing people is right. You have no idea how educated I am. It does however, look as though the paint chips were found in YOUR house though. Are you an officer Mallet? Or have Cops helped you out lately? I have relatives that are officers. One is a human being the other ate the paint chips out of your crib.

  • Mallet

    we had lead free paint tommy boy. No not a police officer…BUT respect what they do daily for me and my family. So if you arew againt killing people…say someone breaks into your home with a knife…what are u gonna do…..wait dont answer that….i give ….

  • Murf

    I drive Highway 212 everyday, including that day. It’s very eerie and gives me goose bumps daily and not something I will get over real soon. I have mixed feelings about all of it. I get that there was a knives and he didn’t comply with the cops, but I honestly don’t think Dawn was in the right might being she just saw her boyfriend shot dead by several police. I feel maybe she went to his side and carelessly picked up the knife and that was the polices opportunity to say shooting her was right as well. It doesn’t matter if there was one or two memorials, what matters is there are two dead people and three children without parents and all of you are arguing on here about things none of you know nothing about. There is a lot more to this story and the truth will come out. It’s embarrassing seeing the bickering it shows what this world has come to…everyone want to hurt each other somehow. UFB!!!

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