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Wounded deputy's partner on leave pending investigation of his shooting standoff suspect

News Willmar,Minnesota 56201
West Central Tribune
Wounded deputy's partner on leave pending investigation of his shooting standoff suspect
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

MAHNOMEN, Minn. - The partner of the wounded Mahnomen County deputy is on paid administrative leave, pend-ing the investigation of Wednesday's shooting and nearly nine-hour long standoff here.

Mahnomen County Sheriff Doug Krier said Deputy Chad Peterson was placed on leave after firing one shot at two suspects. One of the men shot and critically wounded Deputy Christopher Dewey.

After arriving to the scene where Dewey was shot in a residential neighborhood west of the Mahnomen County Court-house, Peterson fired one shot at Thomas Lee Fairbanks and Daniel Kurt Vernier. Peterson injured Fairbanks with the shot, although the bullet didn't pierce his body. He was treated and released from the Mahnomen Health Center, but could still be seen moving slowly at his first court appearance earlier today.

Sheriff Krier said it's standard procedure to place a deputy on leave after they've been involved in a shooting.

Krier and Mahnomen County Attorney Julie Bruggeman spoke at a 11 a.m. news conference this morning in Mahno-men, about an hour after Fairbanks and Vernier made their first appearance in court.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting of Dewey and Peterson's shooting of Fairbanks.

Authorities at the news conference praised Deputy Peterson for his quick actions at the scene. He prevented the two suspects from getting away in Dewey's patrol car and held them at bay in the mobile home, which is owned by Fair-banks.

Authorities also said they retrieved a handgun believed to be the one used to shoot Dewey when Vernier surrendered to police about 9 a.m. Wednesday. They said he brought the weapon out with him when he exited the home.

Krier said some of details hadn't been released to the public because of the ongoing BCA investigation.

Earlier today at the Mahnomen County Courthouse, Fairbanks, 32, was charged with 22 counts, including first- and second-degree attempted murder for shooting the deputy, as well as various counts of assault for firing shots at other law enforcement agents during Wednesday's standoff.

Fairbanks is alleged to have shot Dewey, 26, who is still in critical condition but stable at Fargo's MeritCare Hospital. Dewey was shot in the head and the abdomen.

Vernier, 27, was charged with 17 counts, ranging from aiding the assaults, being in contempt of court and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Vernier told police that he was not the one to shoot Dewey.

About 80 people packed the courtroom at the Mahnomen County Courthouse for the 9:30 a.m. hearing, with about 50 law enforcement officers attending, as well as about a dozen family members of the wounded deputy.

The Mahnomen County Sheriff's Department announced today that they will tie blue ribbons to the antennas of their squad cars to show support of Dewey and his family. They encouraged the public to do so as well.

Wednesday's events began when Dewey was about to wrap up his shift early that morning when he found a pickup that police had been seeking.

The discovery later ended with him lying on a driveway, critically wounded from two gunshot wounds. That shooting triggered the standoff with police that ended peacefully when Fairbanks surrendered a few minutes after 4 p.m. Vernier had surrendered to authorities about 9 a.m. Wednesday.