Vest saved life of Douglas County deputy in gun battle
By Al Edenloff
Forum News Service
ALEXANDRIA - A bullet-proof vest likely saved the life of a Douglas County sheriff's deputy who was shot in the chest Monday evening while checking on a suspicious vehicle.
The two people in vehicle, a 29-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man, both from North Dakota, were found dead after a short chase, Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen said Tuesday. A handgun and a long gun were recovered near their bodies.
The deputy, whose name has not been released, was transported to Douglas County Hospital, where he was treated and released. He is now at home recuperating, Wolbersen said.
The sheriff's office received a call about the vehicle at 9:17 p.m. Monday. A deputy found two people inside the vehicle just south of Alexandria at 3140 50th Avenue in Hudson Township.
One of the occupants fired a gun at the deputy, striking him in the chest, according to the sheriff's office. The deputy returned fire and the suspects drove away.
Wolbersen described the initial shots as a “close range exchange” of gunfire.
The small sedan traveled only a short distance before it got stuck in the snow and the occupants fled on foot, firing more shots at the deputy.
A Minnesota State Patrol helicopter used an infrared imaging device to locate the suspects in a wooded area, about 200 yards from the vehicle.
The two suspects were found dead in deep snow near an outbuilding.
Their names will be released after they are identified by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office.
The injured deputy is a three-year veteran of the sheriff's office and had previous law enforcement experience before being hired by Douglas County. He's been placed on standard administrative leave while the investigation proceeds.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is handling the investigation, which is ongoing. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.
The sheriff's office was assisted by the Alexandria Police Department, State Patrol, Department of Natural Resources, the BCA and numerous area law enforcement agencies.