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High-speed chase in Bemidji ends in fatality

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By Crystal Dey / Bemidji Pioneer

MIDJI -- A high-speed pursuit through Bemidji ended in a fatality this afternoon. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the pursuit and shooting. The driver was found with a single gunshot wound and pronounced dead at the scene on Division Street and Hidden Trail Court in Bemidji.

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A preliminary investigation showed law enforcement officers immediately shouting commands for the suspect to exit the vehicle and a gunshot was heard, according to a press release issued by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The initial indication is that no officers fired their weapons.

The driver was alone in his vehicle during the time of the incident. An autopsy will be conducted by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner on Tuesday to formally identify the individual and determine his cause and manner of death. The Beltrami County Attorney’s Office will review findings.

Law enforcement had been attempting to locate the driver in relation to a pursuit incident in Beltrami County on Friday, the release stated. The individual was pursued in relation to driving after license cancellation. Law enforcement discontinued pursuit last week without apprehending the suspect, who was known to law enforcement, at that time.

At approximately 2 p.m. today, a Minnesota State Patrol trooper spotted the suspect’s vehicle headed southbound on County Road 23 north of Bemidji. The trooper was not able to catch the suspect at that point. The suspect was later spotted headed west on Highway 2 near Norway Beach in Cass County by a Leech Lake Tribal Police officer and Cass County Sheriff’s Office deputies at 3:17 p.m.

A pursuit reaching speeds of 100 mph ensued along Highway 2. Law enforcement deployed spike strips on Highway 2 which the suspect hit. He then headed west on Division Street in Bemidji and stopped at the intersection of Division Street and Hidden Trail Court.

Cass, Beltrami and Hubbard County Sheriff’s Offices, the Bemidji Police Department, the Leech Lake Tribal Police Department, the Minnesota State Patrol and members of the Safe Trails Task Force and Beltrami Ambulance assisted at the scene.

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