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NEWS RELEASE

Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
CONTACT:
Jill Oliveira  651-793-2726
jill.oliveira@state.mn.us
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 02, 2017
Update on BCA Investigation of Officer Involved Shooting in Houston County

​ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has identified the officers and subjects in an officer involved shooting incident that occurred July 31 in Houston County.

  • Wyatt Robert Helfrich, 19, of La Crosse, Wisconsin, is in the La Crosse County (Wisc.) Jail.
  • William Gerald Wallraff, 19, of Holmen, Wisconsin, is in the Houston County Jail.

Both are charged with seven felony counts including attempted 1st degree murder of a police officer, 1st degree assault and fleeing a police officer.

The two La Crescent Police Department officers who fired their weapons during the incident also have been identified. Both are on standard administrative leave.

Officer Ryan Quanrud, five years with La Crescent Police Department

Officer Christopher Frick, six years with the department

The two officers witnessed Helfrich behaving suspiciously at the Kwik Trip at 319 S. 3rd Street in La Crescent around 1:30 a.m. Monday. After Wallraff and Helfrich left the gas station, officers Quanrud and Frick observed the vehicle speeding and pulled the vehicle over at Highway 26 and Highway 16 south of La Crescent.

According to the BCA’s preliminary investigation, as Officer Quanrud approached the vehicle, Helfrich began firing at him. The officers returned fire and then ran back to their vehicles. Wallraff and Helfrich then fled the scene in their vehicle and continued to fire at the squads throughout the pursuit that followed.

Their vehicle was disabled by spike strips on Highway 44 and came to a stop on the roadside just south of Sanden Road near Caledonia. Wallraff and Helfrich exited the vehicle with their weapons and ran into a nearby cornfield, but surrendered within minutes.

Helfrich sustained superficial injuries during the incident. He was taken by ambulance to Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where he was treated and released. He was taken into custody and booked into the La Crosse County (Wisc.) Jail.

Wallraff was not injured and was immediately taken into custody and booked into the Houston County Jail.

The officers were not injured. The La Crescent Police Department does not have body cameras. Squad cameras captured video of the shooting incident.

The officers were joined in the pursuit by the Caledonia Police Department and the Houston County Sheriff’s Office.

When its investigation into the officer involved shooting is complete, the BCA will turn its findings over to the Winona County Attorney’s Office for review.

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445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 | dps.mn.gov