DULUTH — A Gilbert police officer will serve three years of supervised probation for firing a shot during an off-duty confrontation with a hunter in September 2020.

Kevin Patrick Greene, 49, of Aurora, received a tax stay on Monday that would allow his felony conviction to be considered a misdemeanor if he successfully completes his probation.

Greene was convicted by a jury in early January of recklessly discharging a firearm in a township, while he was acquitted of a second count of making threats violent. A felony conviction prevents obtaining a police officer’s license in Minnesota.

Court documents say Greene, who admitted to drinking before the incident, fired a shot into the ground after confronting bow hunter, Tom Carvelli Jr., who was legally participating in the deer hunt of the city of Aurora on public property.

A criminal complaint says police were called to Holland Drive in Aurora around 6:20 p.m. on September 23 to a report of a person with a gun. Carvelli said he parked his vehicle on city property with the intention of walking on state land and hunting.

Carvelli, 51, told the News Tribune that Greene, a nearby resident, approached him, rudely yelling at him to leave and threatening him with violence if he didn’t. He said the off-duty officer described him as “nothing but a thief” and refused to look at dish books proving he was on public property.

“He got right next to my face and grabbed my throat,” Carvelli said last month. “Then I kicked him as hard as I could. I kicked him in the leg and he flew backwards. I kicked him and missed. Then he came back to me so I pulled his shirt over his head. I said, ‘Now you’re screwed; you’re going for an ambulance ride.” And that’s when he pulled out the gun and fired into the ground.”

Carvelli left the area and called 911, while Greene made his own call to complain about an unwanted person at the address.

The complaint says investigators from the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office spoke to Greene, who said he believed Carvelli had a history of burglary. He said Carvelli started the physical confrontation and “beat the shit out of me”.

Greene, according to the complaint, first admitted that he drew his firearm out of commission and intentionally “blew one into the ground.” But in a later interview, he said he wasn’t sure if the discharge was intentional or accidental.

Authorities said Greene admitted to drinking alcohol before the confrontation, but refused testing. A single bullet was found on public property on Holland Drive, where both men agreed the incident happened, and police received confirmation that Carvelli was properly registered for archery hunting from the city.

Defense attorney Stephen Foertsch argued in a sentencing brief that Carvelli was “at least a contributing aggressor in the encounter” until Green fired the shot.

“The fact that Mr. Greene intentionally avoided injuring Mr. Carvelli when he fired his weapon, and then the fact that Mr. Greene was the only party injured in this altercation mitigates Mr. Greene’s guilt,” said he wrote. “Even when attacked and vulnerable to further bodily harm or worse, Mr. Greene exercised restraint and fired his gun into the ground.”

St. Louis County District Attorney Jon Holets painted a different picture.

“Greene was an off-duty police officer who relied on police information to take it upon himself to approach a citizen who was behaving lawfully,” he wrote. “He had been drinking – at least two and possibly three beers. He retrieved his gun, left his own driveway, drove a considerable distance, berated the victim on a public street and got involved in a physical altercation, which he lost. He drew his gun and fired it at the victim’s feet in an attempt to scare him. The shot was fired on the sidewalk in the street, creating the possibility of injuring d other people (victim included) with a ricochet.

Judge Robert Friday adopted a recommendation from an Arrowhead Regional Corrections probation officer in granting the tax stay.

The judge ordered Greene to submit to a chemical dependency evaluation, follow all recommendations and submit to random testing. It also prohibited the officer from possessing firearms and ammunition, among other standard conditions.

Although Gilbert police have not previously responded to inquiries regarding Greene’s employment status, a pre-sentence inquest report said he will soon receive his last paycheck from the city and is working in construction while looking for a new job.

Greene, the son of a former Duluth police detective, spent about 17 years on the force, including a stint with the now-defunct Hoyt Lakes Police Department. He also began serving as a pastor for the St. Louis County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy in 2012.

He was convicted of impaired driving offenses in 1997 and 2001, according to the pre-sentence report.