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Man shoots another at funeral, others grab him until police arrive

A suspect is in custody and the shooting victim was taken to hospital


October 18, 2019

Officers block traffic from entering University Road while the Fond du Lac campus was shut down following a shooting this morning at the community gymnasium inside the Head Start building (pictured behind the officers).

A shooting during a funeral in the Fond du Lac reservation community center gymnasium today left one victim with a gunshot wound to the head and the suspect in custody.

Immediately after the shooting was reported at approximately 9:46 a.m. Friday, Oct. 18, the entire tribal campus was placed in lockdown for at least two hours. Interim Cloquet police chief Derek Randall said initial reports indicate that other people at the funeral "grabbed the suspect" and held him until law enforcement arrived and took him into custody.

The shooter is an adult male, and used some kind of rifle, Randall said.

The victim is also an adult male and has a gunshot wound to the head. He was taken to a local hospital and transferred to a hospital in Duluth. The victim was attending the funeral.

"This happens everywhere, but it really hurts when it happens in your own community," said Fond du Lac spokesperson Rita Aspinwall. She said neither the victim nor the shooter are enrolled Fond du Lac band members.

Randall said he did not have a current condition report on the victim, and they were working to uncover any background or relationship between the shooter and the victim. They have not yet released the names or ages of anyone involved.

"We don't believe this was a random act, but the investigation is ongoing to determine why this happened," Randall said, adding that they believe the suspect has ties to the area, but they don't know where he currently lives.

The response to the shooting was combined, said Randall, noting that the Cloquet police are working with the Fond du Lac Police Department, Carlton County Sheriff's Office, the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is processing the crime scene and the police are in possession of the rifle that was used, Randall said.

"Everybody comes to a situation like this to try to ensure the safety of everyone who is involved," Randall said. "We are interviewing and trying to locate all the witnesses who were in the gymnasium at the time of the shooting."

Initial rumors and reports that the shooting happened at the school were incorrect.

The funeral services were for a 77-year-old woman.

Interim Cloquet Police Chief Derek Randall responds to questions from television and other media reporters Friday.

The Fond du Lac Band is fully cooperating with all law enforcement and is also providing counseling for anyone affected, Aspinwall said, encouraging people to reach out if they need counseling.

The school and all surrounding Fond du Lac buildings were locked down immediately after the shooting. All staff at the school and tribal center were sent home from work after the lockdown was lifted, shortly after 12 p.m.

Randall said incidents like today's shooting are rare in our area.

"I don't know of any other incident like this where someone has gone into an area where there were a large amount of people and shot somebody," he said.

Randall said he expects to have more information to release today, at a 3 p.m. press conference.

There are additional videos from this morning's impromptu press meetings on the Pine Knot News Facebook page.


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