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Man gets 20 years for shooting Norman County deputy

 Norman County judge sentenced a 20-year-old man to the maximum 20 years in prison Wednesday for shooting a Norman County deputy last April.

Norman County District Court Judge Jeffrey Remick called for greater maximum sentences for crimes like that of Steven Anthony Henderson, who pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted murder of a peace officer in the April 15 shooting of Deputy Nathan Warner, who was wearing a bullet-resistent vest and survived the shooting.

Remick urged a courtroom filled with law enforcement officers from Norman and surrounding counties to contact Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and state legislators to increase the 20-year maximum for attempted murder of law enforcement officers.

Warner was hit in both the back and the front by Henderson’s stolen 45-caliber handgun, and had he died, Remick pointed out, Henderson would be looking at life behind bars.

“You should be forever thankful that Nathan Warner survived that,” he told Henderson.

Henderson, a Fertile, Minn., native, apologized to Warner and his family Wednesday.

“I just hope that you believe me when I say that I am sorry from the bottom of my heart,” he said.

Henderson’s attorney asked for a 14-year sentence for her client, the minimum under state sentencing guidelines, adding that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after years of physical and emotional abuse at his father’s hands.

When Warner pulled over Henderson and his brother near Perley, Minn., they were in a pickup that Henderson stole the day before in Madison, Neb., court papers stated.

A report of a suspicious pickup led the deputy to stop the truck, which had no license plates, on County Road 39 near County Road 12. Henderson was driving, and his brother, William Henderson, was in the passenger seat, court papers stated.

At the time, William Henderson, 19, had an arrest warrant for failing to appear in court on misdemeanor charges in Pennington County, so the deputy placed him in the backseat of his squad car, according to court papers.

The deputy returned to the pickup and then headed back to his squad car. At that point, Steven Henderson opened fire with the handgun, court papers said.

Bullets hit Warner in the back and struck the deputy’s portable radio on the front of his vest, according to court papers.

Steven Henderson drove off, and officers found him two hours later in woods near a vacant farmstead a few miles from the shooting scene.

Warner, who returned fire but missed, was treated at a Fargo hospital and released. The Mahnomen County attorney later found that the deputy’s use of force was justified.

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