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UPDATE: Minn. trooper shoots woman in incident along snowy Interstate 94

Law enforcement respond to an incident on Interstate 94, about three miles east of Moorhead, Minn. Nick Broadway / Forum News Service1 / 3
Law enforcement respond to an incident on Interstate 94, about three miles east of Moorhead, Minn. Nick Broadway / Forum News Service2 / 3
Law enforcement respond to an incident on Interstate 94, about three miles east of Moorhead, Minn. Dave Samson / Forum News Service3 / 3

MOORHEAD, Minn. – A state trooper’s response to a crash on Interstate 94 near Moorhead in far western Minnesota took an unexpected turn, with the trooper firing a weapon at one of the vehicle’s two occupants.

A woman was hospitalized with a gunshot wound and a man was in custody following the Monday, March 5, incident, according to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

It was the second officer-involved shooting in Clay County in less than a month.

The incident began with the single-vehicle crash on westbound I-94 about three miles east of Moorhead just before 10:30 a.m. Monday.

The trooper discovered the vehicle, a dark-colored SUV, had struck the median barrier and two people were inside.

At some point the trooper fired a gun, striking the woman, who ran into a field and was later found with a gunshot wound. It’s not clear what prompted the trooper’s reaction.

The man was arrested and the woman was taken to Essentia Hospital in Fargo for treatment. Her condition is not known.

The Department of Public Safety says a gun was recovered at the scene. The trooper involved was not injured and is on standard paid administrative leave following the shooting. The trooper’s name was not released Monday.

Law enforcement officers at the scene dealt with heavy, wet snow and ice pellets, along with gusty winds.

As members of the media tried to document the unfolding scene, officers asked them to stay clear of the snow-covered field just north of the interstate.

One officer told a reporter that was because there was a trail of blood through the field.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is leading the investigation and says it will release any additional information, including names of the trooper involved and the two suspects.

The Minnesota State Patrol was assisted by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, the Moorhead, Barnesville and Dilworth police departments, and F-M Ambulance.

The area where the shooting occurred on westbound I-94 was closed shortly after the incident. Traffic was being routed off the interstate at exit 15 near Downer while the BCA continued its investigation.

State Patrol public information officer Sgt. Jesse Grabow said he expected that portion of the interstate to remain closed through early evening Monday.

Monday’s incident marked the second officer-involved shooting in Clay County in a few weeks.

On the evening of Feb. 10, Clay County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Sinclair fired his weapon after he and Sgt. Gabriel Tweten responded to a report of a suicidal man with a knife at a home in Sabin.

The BCA said Brady Allan Adrian, 19, ignored orders to drop the knife and came at Tweten, punching him and knocking a Taser from his hands.

Adrian allegedly then grabbed the Taser and fired it, striking Sinclair.

Sinclair then fired his gun, with at least one round hitting Adrian, who was treated at a local hospital before being taken to jail.

Sinclair and Tweten were both placed on standard paid leave following the shooting.

Clay County Lt. Mark Empting said both men have since returned to work.

Pamela Harris, the chief assistant Clay County attorney, said the BCA is still investigating the officers’ roles in the incident and, once completed, will refer the case to Otter Tail County to avoid any conflicts of interest.

Adrian faces five felony charges in the Sabin incident, including assault of a peace officer.

He is scheduled for a hearing on Thursday, March 8.