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Minn. deputy hit by man fleeing from courthouse identified

Brandon Morris1 / 2
A North Memorial Medical Center Ambulance personnel escort a Crow Wing County Sheriff's Deputy with an injury to his left arm after an altercation at the Crow Wing County Judicial Center in Brainerd on Wednesday. The suspect managed to evade capture, so a perimeter was set up near the Central Lakes College football field. Steve Kohls / Forum News Service2 / 2

BRAINERD, Minn.—The Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office released the name of the deputy injured at the Judicial Center in Brainerd by a man attempting to escape custody Wednesday.

Deputy Tony Brunhuber was injured when he was struck by a car.

The suspect, Brandon Dupree Morris of Baxter, was at the Judicial Center about 4 p.m. for a meeting with his probation officer when he drove off in his car with law enforcement in pursuit.

Lt. Joe Meyer of the sheriff's office said before the suspect's apprehension hours later after the hit-and-run that a court officer's attempt to arrest Morris in the parking lot preceded the chase.

"While talking with the officer, the suspect put the car in reverse and turned sharply, striking the officer and causing some injury," Meyer said on Wednesday of Morris, described as a probation violator.

Morris now faces four charges of assault—first through fourth degree—including use of deadly force, of a dangerous weapon, of causing substantial bodily harm and assaulting a police officer.

"This was an absolute disregard for human life, no question about it," Sheriff Todd Dahl said in announcing the deputy's name Thursday.

Another deputy witnessed the injury to Brunhuber and radioed for assistance. Numerous officers from the sheriff's office, Brainerd Police Department and the Baxter Police Department responded to the call for help and took off after the suspect's vehicle.

"Deputy Brunhuber was transported by ambulance to Essentia Hospital in the city of Brainerd was treated and later released," Dahl said of Brunhuber's injured left arm.

Morris also faces three additional charges of failing to stop in the case of an injury, fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle and fleeing an officer in the case of death or bodily injury.

"I personally was involved in the response, as well as the search, and this could have easily resulted in the death of one of our deputies," Dahl said.

A perimeter to catch the suspect was set up along Highland Scenic Road and Cora Street to the west and north, in an area bordered by West College Drive to the south and east, near Central Lakes College.

"The search for Morris concentrated in the area of southwest Brainerd," Dahl said in a news release. "Morris was taken into custody without incident."

The 33-year-old suspect was found at about 7 p.m. in a vehicle parked inside the garage of a residence located in the 600 block of Southwest Sixth Street.

"A member of the public provided information as to where he possibly might be. They were right," Meyer said Wednesday evening.

An acquaintance of Morris', Ashley Nicole Johnson, 27, of Baxter, was arrested for obstructing the legal process and aiding an offender to avoid arrest.

"We look forward to a speedy recovery and Deputy Brunhuber returning to work in the very near future," Dahl said. "As for Morris, my hope is that he is prosecuted and sits (in prison) for a very long period of time."

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