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A law enforcement officer prepares a weapon about two blocks away from the site of a standoff today in Mahnomen. (Dave Wallis / The Forum)

Deputy critical after being shot in abdomen, head in Mahnomen

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News Willmar,Minnesota 56201
West Central Tribune
Deputy critical after being shot in abdomen, head in Mahnomen
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

MAHNOMEN, Minn. - A Mahnomen County sheriff's deputy has been shot multiple times in Mahnomen, about 90 miles northeast of Fargo. The shooting occurred about 7 a.m.


Christopher Dewey, a 26-year-old, four-year veteran of the Mahnomen County Sheriff's De-partment, was listed in critical condition at 11 a.m. at MeritCare hospital in Fargo.

Dewey suffered gunshot wounds to the abdomen, according to a hospital news release. Dr. Robert Sticca, a general surgeon, performed surgery on the deputy, finding an entrance and exit wound with laceration to the liver, which was repaired.

The victim also suffered one gunshot wound to the head. Dr. Chad Justesen, a neurosurgeon, currently is performing that surgery, according to the release.

The suspects in the shooting are believed to be armed with high-powered firearms, according to an officer on the scene, and they were holed up in a mobile home about three blocks west of the Mahnomen County Courthouse. That was near where the shooting occurred.

The incident started about 4 a.m. today with reports of a drunken driver leaving the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen. A sheriff's deputy responded to the report but found the suspects' vehicle unoccupied near the courthouse.

Then about 6:20 a.m., officers received a call of shots fired. Deputies investigated, but didn't find anything.

About 7:10 a.m. a deputy went to the home of a witness who had reported the shots fired. When that deputy did not respond to radio calls from his partner, the partner went to the scene and found him lying in the witnesses' driveway. He had been shot numerous times.

Dewey was taken to a hospital in Mahnomen and then airlifted to MeritCare in Fargo at 8:25 a.m.

After the shooting, the suspects ran to a residence across the street, where they remain sur-rounded by an encampment of law enforcement officers.

Earlier in the morning, the suspects ignored police with a bullhorn ordering them to "come out with your hands up."

Some 40 to 50 law enforcement squad cars, lights flashing, were parked in various positions in the street, starting near the house and lining down several blocks of the quiet residential neighborhood.

Officers holding rifles crouched behind open car doors and behind vehicles facing the house. Farther back, other officers changed into bullet-proof vests and put on insulated coveralls and boots in the face of 20-below wind chills.

A reporter witnessed officers obtaining a room layout of the house from a young man who lives about two blocks away and was familiar with the house.

The young man told a reporter that "my brother shot a cop." The man said the suspects wanted to surrender but were afraid they'd be shot by officers when they left the house. He said his brother wanted him to come over and lead the suspects out of the house.

The man left with officers, but then returned about 10 minutes later.

He said the suspects had been drinking.

Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist said the Red River Valley SWAT Team -- comprised of members of the Cass and Clay County sheriffs' offices, West Fargo, Fargo and Moorhead police -- have responded to the scene. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension also sent its SWAT team, its Crime Scene Team and investigators. Other agencies responding to the scene included White Earth Reservation tribal police, Minnesota State Patrol troopers, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers, Mahnomen police officers, and depu-ties from other surrounding sheriff's departments.

A second news conference is planned for this afternoon.

Mahnomen Mayor Martin Warnsholz said this morning that the Mahnomen County Sheriff's Department and other law enforcement agencies were dealing with a situation but he said he had not been briefed on the specifics.

Warnsholz said officers had an area of town blocked off but business at City Hall, located in a different part of town, was not affected.