Prayers Needed

2nd suspect in Mahnomen deputy shooting surrenders

2nd suspect in Mahnomen deputy shooting surrenders

By RICHARD MERYHEW, Star Tribune

Last update: February 18, 2009 - 5:23 PM

MAHNOMEN, Minn. -- A Mahnomen County sheriff's deputy was in critical condition Wednesday after being shot several times in an incident that sparked a nine-hour standoff with police and locked down an area in this northwestern Minnesota town.

The standoff ended peacefully about 4 p.m. when the second of two suspects walked out of a mobile home and surrendered to authorities. Another person had been taken into custody earlier in the day, said Dave Bjerga, assistant superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Deputy Christopher Dewey remained in critical, but stable condition at MeritCare Hospital in Fargo, N.D., Wednesday evening. The 26-year-old had two surgeries after being shot in the abdomen and the head.

MeritCare officials said in a statement that the head wound resulted in a severe brain injury, and it was too soon to know a prognosis. Hospital officials said doctors were able to repair a laceration to Dewey's liver.

County Sheriff Doug Krier told reporters the incident apparently started around 4 a.m. when authorities got a call about a drunk driver leaving the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen. Deputies later found the vehicle near the courthouse with no one in it.

About 6:20 a.m., neighbors reported gunfire near the house where the car was found, Krier said.

"The deputies responded and checked the area but couldn't find anything," the sheriff said.

About 45 minutes later, Dewey went to the house, located about one block west of the courthouse, to interview a witness about the shooting.

Krier said Dewey's partner called him a few minutes later to check on the progress of the interview. When Dewey didn't answer his radio, the deputy raced to the scene and found his partner laying on the driveway of a home across the street. He had been shot several times.

Krier said two male suspects then ran into the home across the street. As of 1:45 p.m., one of the suspects was still holed up in the house, surrounded by officers from several law enforcement agencies. The other suspect was taken into custody and is being questioned by police.

Dewey, meanwhile was taken to the Mahnomen Hospital, where he was stabilized within minutes of the shooting. He was then flown to MeritCare Hospital in Fargo.

Huber said he arrived at the Fargo hospital at 8:25 a.m. and immediately had surgery to address the gunshot wounds to his abdomen. His liver also was lacerated in the shooting but repaired in surgery, Huber said.

Once surgeons completed work on Dewey's abdomen, they addressed the head wound. He was out of surgery before 2:15 p.m., Huber said.

He was listed in critical but stable condition, according to Huber.

Walt Aanenson, superintendent of Mahnomen schools, said the school, about 3 to 4 blocks from the shooting scene, has been locked down all day. No students have been allowed to enter or exit the building, and teachers and staff have guarded all doors.

"We just want to be sure we don't have an intruder entering the school building," he said.

The Red River Valley SWAT Team, made up of members of the Cass and Clay County sheriff's offices, West Fargo, Fargo and Moorhead police, remain on the scene at this hour.

Aanenson said that shots have been fired at the scene throughout the morning. He said that if the standoff doesn't end by the end of the school day, students will remain in school until it is safe to leave.

"It's an ongoing situation," he said.

Once surgeons completed work on Dewey's abdomen, they addressed the head wound. He was out of surgery before 2:15 p.m., Huber said.

He was listed in critical but stable condition, according to Huber.

Walt Aanenson, superintendent of Mahnomen schools, said the school, about 3 to 4 blocks from the shooting scene, has been locked down all day. No students have been allowed to enter or exit the building, and teachers and staff have guarded all doors.

"We just want to be sure we don't have an intruder entering the school building," he said.

The Red River Valley SWAT Team, made up of members of the Cass and Clay County sheriff's offices, West Fargo, Fargo and Moorhead police, remain on the scene at this hour.

Aanenson said that shots have been fired at the scene throughout the morning. He said that if the standoff doesn't end by the end of the school day, students will remain in school until it is safe to leave.

"It's an ongoing situation," he said.

Richard Meryhew 612-673-4425

The Associated Press contributed to this report.