Police car lights crime

Graphic from Metro Newspaper Service.

LITTLE FALLS, Minn. — A driver, who reportedly shot at law enforcement officers, is believed to have suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head following a police pursuit, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension reported Wednesday, Oct. 16.

The BCA stated in a news release it is investigating the officer use of force incident, which happened Tuesday night, Oct. 15, in Morrison County in central Minnesota.

Just after 5 p.m. Tuesday, Todd County Sheriff’s Office deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop near Browerville in southeast Todd County related to an ongoing investigation of suspected criminal activity, the BCA stated.

One of the officers, who discharged bean bag rounds or chemical munitions during the incident, was identified in the statement as Little Falls police Officer Joshua Burgardt, who has been with the Little Falls Police Department for 13 years.

The identity of one Morrison County Sheriff’s Office employee was withheld per state law that protects the identity of an undercover law enforcement officer.

In recounting the event, the BCA reported the driver did not stop and a pursuit began heading east on County Road 16 into Morrison County.

Morrison County sheriff’s deputies and Minnesota State Patrol troopers joined in the pursuit, which reportedly at times reached speeds of 105 mph.

The driver shot at law enforcement during the pursuit, the BCA reported.

No officers were injured.

“At one point, the driver lost control of the vehicle on southbound Highway 10,” the BCA stated. “The vehicle left the road and struck a tree in the west ditch near County Road 16 in Cushing.

The driver did not follow officers’ commands to exit the vehicle and the pursuing agencies were joined at the scene by the Morrison County SWAT Team. At one point, officers fired beanbag rounds to knock out the vehicle’s back window and then fired chemical munitions into the vehicle.”

As officers approached the vehicle they found the driver with an apparent gunshot wound to the head, and officers provided medical aid at the scene, the BCA stated. The driver was taken to St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Little Falls and then by air ambulance to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, where he is being treated for an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, the BCA reported.

No officers were wearing body cameras, the BCA stated, adding that the state agency will determine whether squad cameras captured the shooting during the pursuit or the incident at the crash site. BCA crime scene personnel reported recovering a handgun from inside the vehicle.

The BCA’s investigation of the incident is ongoing.

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