A Menahga man faces two felony counts after suffering a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the face.
On May 18 at approximately 9 p.m., officers were dispatched to a residence in Wadena County due to a report of a male party threatening to shoot his wife and himself. Dispatch advised that someone had suffered a gunshot wound to the head. EMS was dispatched to the scene as well.
Upon arrival, officers were told the self-inflicted gunshot victim's wife had removed the firearm from the scene and fled to the woods with it. When officers approached the driveway, a person sitting on their hands and knees could be seen in front of an attached garage. Severe facial trauma and heavy bleeding was noted as it appeared his entire jaw was missing.
The man, identified as Wayne Scott Petersen, 46, was able to tell officers he didn't want help and made a motion to his head as though he was pulling the trigger of a gun.
Alcohol was detected on Petersen. His wife, Janel Petersen, was later located. Janel said she left the firearm in the woods. The black shotgun was located and locked safely in a squad car. The gun had an empty chamber.
Upon investigation of the scene, several gunshot holes were found in the walk-in garage and kitchen. Traces of blood and flesh were noted surrounding a hole directly above the landing of the steps going into the house. Shotgun ammunition was found in the kitchen hutch, indicating the weapon used was a 10-gauge.
Loose pills next to prescription pill bottles and documentation from a local mental health center were also collected from the residence. A special agent from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension assisted with the investigation.
A gunshot residue kit was taken from Petersen, as well as a note with that said, "I want to die." The agent spoke with a male coworker of Janel Petersen's who had gotten to know her a few months prior through work.
The two would occasionally call and text one another, and Janel said she shared issues she had been having with Wayne. She said two weeks before the incident, she came home to find him in the garage with a gun to his head. Janel was able to talk him out of the situation at that time. The coworker also said Wayne had somehow gotten his number and left a message accusing him of having an affair with his wife. Petersen also said he was "going to end it."
The Petersons' daughter, who was present at the time of the shooting, said her father did in fact believe his wife was having an affair, and he checks her phone constantly.
She added that her parents began fighting around 6 or 7 p.m. that night, and she was sleeping on the couch when her mother woke her and instructed her to call 9-1-1. She said both parents had been drinking earlier that evening, and her father was upset because he had found some papers her mother had filled out that would "make him move out."
In a statement taken from Janel, she said she and Wayne have been married for 23 years, and throughout the past year he has been struggling with depression and had become very controlling. She said his mood swings are up and down and he starts and stops taking his medication at will. She added that his therapist recommended removing all firearms from the home. Janel said she removed every gun, but Wayne brought another gun into the home May 17.
She said he was lying in bed with the gun loaded and pointed at his face the night before the shooting. Wayne said he was upset because he had found an Order for Protection Janel had been filling out, but had not yet filed.
During the couple's argument, Wayne said he agreed with everything Janel had written, but was still upset over the OFP. Janel said he left the home at approximately 7.30 p.m. May 18 and returned with the shotgun and a box of shells.
Not shortly after, Janel told her daughter to call 911. That was when Wayne let off two shots, followed by the third which was turned on himself.
In a statement taken from Wayne Petersen on June 6, he said he merely shot himself, and that he never threatened his wife or children. He faces one charge of second degree assault with a dangerous weapon and one count of terroristic threats. Petersen's next court hearing is set for July 16.