ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is investigating a high speed pursuit and shooting that took place this afternoon in Beltrami County.
Law enforcement had been attempting to locate an individual on related to a pursuit incident last week. Just before 2 p.m. today, a Minnesota State Patrol trooper spotted the suspect’s vehicle headed southbound on County Road 23 north of Bemidji. The suspect eluded the trooper at that point, but the vehicle was spotted again by a Leach Lake Tribal Police Department officer and Cass County Sheriff’s Office deputies at 3:17 p.m. heading west on Highway 2 near Norway Beach in Cass County. A pursuit ensued along Highway 2 with several other agencies joining and reaching speeds in excess of 100 mph. Law enforcement deployed spike strips on Highway 2 which the suspect hit, after which he headed west on Division St. in Bemidji, coming to a stop near Division St. and Hidden Trail Court.
The preliminary investigation shows law enforcement officers immediately shouted commands for the suspect to exit the vehicle. A gunshot was then heard by law enforcement. The driver was found with a single gunshot wound. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The initial indication is that no officers fired their weapons.
Agencies involved in the pursuit included the Cass, Beltrami and Hubbard County sheriff’s offices, the Bemidji Police Department, the Leach Lake Tribal Police Department, the Minnesota State Patrol and members of the Safe Trails Task Force. Beltrami Ambulance assisted at the scene.
This same individual was the subject of a pursuit by the Minnesota State Patrol on July 25 in Beltrami County related to driving after license cancellation. That pursuit was discontinued without law enforcement apprehending the suspect. During both incidents officers knew who they were pursuing.
No one else was in the suspect’s vehicle at the time of today’s incident. An autopsy will be conducted by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner on Tuesday to formally identify the individual and determine his cause and manner of death. Once the BCA completes its investigation it will present its findings to the Beltrami County Attorney’s Office for review.