ST. PAUL (WCCO) -- May 1, 2010 11:12 pm US/Central Maplewood Officer Killed, Manhunt Ends With 1 Dead
A Maplewood police officer was killed during an ambush Saturday morning, setting off a massive manhunt that ended with one suspect dead and another in custody, authorities said.
"This is a tragic morning. This morning a Maplewood Police Officer was shot (and killed) in the line of duty," said Sgt. Paul Schnell, a St. Paul Police Spokesman, earlier in the day.
Maplewood Police Chief Dave Thomalla identified the Maplewood officer who was killed as 49-year-old Sgt. Joseph Bergeron. He was a 26 1/2 year veteran of the Maplewood Police Department.
"He was very proud officer, very proud officer and he's one of the finest people I know. And he was murdered today, senselessly. And he leaves behind a wife and two beautiful daughters. We will miss him, we will miss him terribly," said Thomalla.
Bergeron was investigating a report of a carjacking nearby in Maplewood that had happened around 6:30 a.m. The victim of the carjacking told police two men in their late teens to early 20s stole his car and then dropped him off near the 1300 Block of Ripley Avenue.
When officers checked the area a few minutes later, they found the carjacking victim's vehicle a short distance away.
As part of the investigation, Bergeron was in the area near Arlington Avenue East and North English Street in St. Paul.
Police said Bergeron was shot around 6:50 a.m. when a suspect walked up to his squad and shot the officer as he sat alone in the vehicle.
Bergeron was rushed to Regions Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police said a jogger witnessed the two suspects who shot Bergeron and the jogger called for help on the police radio.
St. Paul Police, Minnesota State Patrol and other east metro police forces assisted Maplewood officers and set up a large perimeter in the area near Lake Phalen to search for the two suspects, also conducting door-to-door searches.
Later Saturday night, St. Paul Police identified the suspects as 21-year-old Jason John Jones and 21-year-old Joshua Michael Martin, both of St. Paul.
Around 10:30 a.m., a St. Paul officer on the perimeter near Ivy and Prosperity Avenues saw a man, who has now been identified as Jones, come from the secure perimeter. When the officer saw Jones, Jones attacked the officer.
Adam Osaen witnessed the attack.
"I noticed the suspect and the officer on the ground wrestling and I slammed on my breaks," said Osean. "And I looked again and they were both on the ground and they both had their hands on the gun and all of a sudden two shots went off."
The officer struggled with Jones before firing the shots that killed him, according to St. Paul Police.
St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington said the officer is being treated for a broken nose and broken eye-socket from being hit in the head by the suspect. Harrington said the officer, a 25-year veteran with the department, was in stable condition at Regions Hospital. The officer's name has not yet been released.
A few hours later, at 12:30 p.m., officers surrounded an apartment building at 1032 Duluth Street in St. Paul where investigators tracked the second suspect, who has now been identified as Martin.
Hostage negotiators were able to convince Martin to surrender himself and he is now in police custody. Harrington said Martin had self-inflicted wounds and was treated and released from Regions Hospital.
Bergeron began his career with the Maplewood Police Department in 1984. During the course of his career, Bergeron served as a patrol officer, field training officer, investigator and, most recently, sergeant.
While currently serving as a patrol supervisor, he recently completed an assignment overseeing efforts to combat problem properties. Bergeron also served as the coordinator of our Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) program.
Bergeron's family released the following statement late Saturday night:
Joey's first job was being an excellent dad, husband, brother and friend to many. Joey was always caring and generous in everything he did. Joey was a private person that worked very hard everyday without the necessity of recognition. He did his job to the fullest for all the citizens of Maplewood and surrounding communities quietly to ensure he was never in the lime light.
We would like to thank all the officers involved for their efforts and support.
Joey's family is very appreciative to the fast action of the jogger who initiated a rapid police response which was vital to the apprehension of the suspects.