Fallen deputy shot three times, suspect died of multiple gunshot wounds in Cyrus, Minnesota, incident

The medical examiner determined that Bryan Nygard, 34, of Cyrus, died from multiple gunshot wounds. The initial investigation shows he began firing on officers when he was informed of his arrest.

Pope County Sheriff's deputies Brody Merrill, left, and Joshua Owen were shot Saturday in a domestic violence call. Owen died of his injuries.

CYRUS — The Pope County sheriff's deputy killed Saturday while responding to a domestic violence call was shot three times during an exchange of gunfire with the suspect, who was also killed.

The Midwest Medical Examiner's Office determined that Bryan Nygard, 34, of Cyrus, died from multiple gunshot wounds after he fired at the three responding officers who had just informed him he was under arrest, according to the initial investigation by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

All three officers were struck.

Deputy Josh Owen, who later died of his wounds at Glacial Ridge Hospital in Glenwood, and fellow Deputy Brody Merrill returned fire with their department handguns, according to a news release from the BCA.

Merrill was struck once in the upper chest in the vest by a handgun round, and was treated at a hospital and released.


Starbuck Police Officer Alex Olson had been in the hallway and did not fire his weapon. He was struck once in the ankle by a handgun round but was not hospitalized.

Nygard died at the scene.

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According to the news release, the initial investigation shows that just after 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 15, Olson responded to a domestic violence call at an apartment in Cyrus, followed by Owen and Merrill.

The officers spoke to Nygard and a woman. After Nygard was informed he was under arrest, Nygard stood up from a table, drew a firearm and began firing.

The woman living with Nygard had left the apartment before the shooting occurred, according to the news release.

BCA crime scene personnel recovered a pistol, bullets and cartridge casings at the scene. All three officers were wearing their body cameras, according to the BCA, and agents are currently reviewing the video as part of the ongoing investigation.

The footage will be redacted and released to the public once the case is closed and fully adjudicated, the news release reads.

Owen had 14 years of law enforcement experience. Merrill has four years of law enforcement experience and is on standard administrative leave, according to the news release.


The Pope County Sheriff's Office requested that the BCA investigate the incident. Once this is complete, the BCA will present its findings without a charging recommendation to the Pope County Attorney's Office for review.

Travis Gulbrandson covers several beats, including Osakis School Board and Osakis City Council, along with the Brandon-Evansville School Board. His focus will also be on crime and court news.
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