ST. PAUL — The Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is investigating an officer use of force incident that happened Tuesday night in Morrison County. The officers who discharged beanbag rounds or chemical munitions during the incident have been identified.
• Officer Joshua Burgardt has been with the Little Falls Police Department for 13 years.
• The identity of one Morrison County Sheriff’s Office employee is being withheld under Minn. Stat. 13.82, subd. 17 (a).
At approximately 5:05 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 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 at times reached speeds of 105 mph.
The driver shot at pursuing law enforcement during the pursuit. No one was injured. At one point, the driver lost control of the vehicle on southbound Highway 10. 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. The pursuing agencies were joined at the scene by the Morrison County SWAT team. At one point, officers fired bean bag rounds to knock out the vehicle’s back window, then fired chemical munitions into the vehicle.
As officers approached the vehicle they located the driver with an apparent gunshot wound to the head. Officers provided medical aid at the scene and the driver was taken by ambulance 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.
No officers were wearing body cameras. The BCA will determine whether squad cameras captured the shooting during the pursuit or the incident at the crash site. BCA crime scene personnel recovered a handgun from inside the vehicle.
The BCA’s investigation of the incident is ongoing. When the investigation is complete, the BCA will provide its findings without recommendation to the Morrison County Attorney’s Office for review.