He dies in driveway with a rifle nearby; PCSO not yet indicating how he died
A rural Polk County man died Monday afternoon in the driveway of his residence near Tabor, around 30 miles northeast of Crookston. The incident involving the exchange of gunfire between the man and law enforcement occurred near the intersection of 160th Street NW and 410th Avenue NW, in Section 2 of Northland Township.
The hours-long incident began at approximately 11:20 a.m. Monday when a rural mail carrier who had gone to the residence reported to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office that two shots had been fired from the residence and that the rear window of the mail carrier’s vehicle had been shattered. Sheriff Barb Erdman reports that the first deputy to arrive at the residence was confronted by a male subject with a rifle. At that point, the deputy called for back-up and law enforcement agencies from across the region responded. As more law enforcement began to converge on the scene, Erdman reports, the man with the rifle fired at the deputy, striking the deputy’s vehicle. At some point, a law enforcement officer returned fire.
According to scanner traffic, officers were able to communicate with the suspect’s spouse, who was not at the residence. According to scanner communications, she told officers that her husband was possibly suffering from some early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and that he also had other firearms in the house. She also said she was willing to try to call him on the phone and talk him into surrendering.
Things quieted down for a bit as officers got situated at certain points surrounding the property. But then, shortly before 2 p.m., according to scanner communications, it was reported that the man was “down” in his driveway and was unresponsive. It is not known at this time how the man died. Erdman indicates in the release from the PCSO that the “male subject was later located deceased outside of his residence with a high-powered rifle.”
The Times is aware of the identity of the deceased male, but his name has not yet been publicly released. His body was transported to the Grand Forks Medical Examiner’s office for an autopsy.
As activity at the scene slowly dwindled late Monday afternoon, what appeared to be relatives of the deceased man arrived on Polk County Highway 23 and were escorted down the road toward the residence by law enforcement.
In addition to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Crookston Police Department and Minnesota State Patrol, other agencies that responded to the scene Monday included the U.S. Border Patrol, Thief River Falls, East Grand Forks and White Earth police departments, Pine-to-Prairie Drug Task Force, Norman County Sheriff’s Office, Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Mahnomen County Sheriff’s Office, Warren Ambulance, East Grand Forks Fire and Rescue, and the Grand Forks Regional SWAT team, which sent an armored vehicle as well as a large “special operations” truck.
The PCSO and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are leading the investigation.
Highland goes into soft lockdown
Highland School Principal Chris Trostad tells the Times that when the initial reports on Monday’s incident came to light, he was unsure of the precise location, so as a precaution the school went into “soft-lockdown” mode until the incident was resolved. Trostad said it was an extremely soft lockdown, in that the primary goal was to make sure the building was locked and that students stayed inside.