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High-speed Bemidji chase ends in gunshot death

ALSO: Suspect dies at end of homeowner’s gun; Stearns County Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr; neutrino detection device installed in Orr; and more.

From the Bemidji Pioneer: Police on Friday tried to serve a warrant on a man who had been driving after his license was canceled. He outran police. On Monday afternoon, a State Patrol trooper spotted the suspect’s vehicle headed southbound on County Road 23 north of Bemidji. The trooper couldn’t catch him, but the driver was later spotted heading west on Highway 2 in Cass County by a Leech Lake Tribal Police officer and Cass County Sheriff’s Office deputies. The pursuit along Highway 2 reached speeds of 100 mph. Police put down spike strips on Highway 2, which the suspect hit. He then stopped in Bemidji at the intersection of Division Street and Hidden Trail Court. Officers shouted commands for the suspect to leave the vehicle. A gun went off. The initial indication is that no officers fired their weapons. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Koochiching County Sheriff’s Office has this tale to tell, as recounted in the Bemidji Pioneer: “According to a preliminary investigation, at 5:19 a.m. Saturday a Koochiching County sheriff’s deputy responded to a 911 call about a break-in and assault at the home of Neil and Jody Reller … . The Rellers told investigators that a man, (later identified as Benjamin Beaudoin, 34, of Mendota Heights), burst into the home through a locked door. Neil Reller retrieved a shotgun and engaged in a struggle with Beaudoin, during which Reller struck Beaudoin several times over the head, breaking the stock off the gun. The struggle continued until Beaudoin fled the home in his vehicle. While the deputy was taking the report, a 911 call came in of an incident at the Himes residence … . The deputy responded to the second location and saw Beaudoin’s vehicle in the driveway. Ethal Himes, 72, told authorities she offered to let into her home a man, now identified as Beaudoin, who showed up at her door with blood on his face saying that he’d been assaulted. Beaudoin allegedly then grabbed Himes, throwing her to the living room floor, choking her and beating her head on the floor. Bradley Himes, 48, … went to retrieve a handgun. Beaudoin followed him and lunged at him, at which time Bradley Himes shot Beaudoin, according to the sheriff’s office. The deputy administered first aid to Beaudoin at the scene. He was taken by ambulance to Rainy Lake Medical Center, where he later died from his injuries.”

Jake Laxen of the St. Cloud Daily Times offered this story of multiculturalism in Stearns County: After 30 days of fasting for Ramadan, Hussain Iqbal of Sartell was used to being hungry. But then the Pakistani-American realized it was Eid al-Fitr — the festival of breaking fast, celebrated by Muslims worldwide to mark the completion of Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims traditionally fast from food and water from sunrise to sunset, said Iqbal, a Wells Fargo branch manager who moved to the area in 2005. Eid al-Fitr is a three-day celebration “just like how people celebrate Christmas, we exchange gifts and get together with family,” Iqbal said. “We eat a lot all the stuff you have stayed away from in Ramadan. We really feast and go all out.” Ahmed Mohamed Dakahe, who grew up in Somalia and Kenya but has lived in St. Cloud for seven years, says Ramadan is an equalizer. “Whether you are rich or you are poor, in Ramadan, you all feel the same the pain.” Iqbal said the lessons of fasting are profound. “In the path of life, you go through ups and down,” he said. “Fasting gives you patience and strength to take on anything in life.”

Kyle Farris of the Duluth News Tribune was on hand last week when the NOvA Far Detector was unleashed in Orr. The University of Minnesota and the U.S. Department of Energy launched “the NOvA Far Detector, a 14,000-ton plastic device that took more than 700 students in 24 academic fields roughly four years to build.” The detector will send and receive an invisible beam of neutrinos to a second detector at the U.S. Department of Energy lab in Chicago and analyze the subatomic particles. “Revealing the secrets behind neutrinos could yield further evidence about what the universe was like during its infancy,” Farris wrote.

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A district judge has dismissed four counts of attempted first-degree murder leveled against 17-year-old John David LaDue of Waseca, saying the county attorney had not accumulated sufficient evidence to prove that his actions went beyond “preparations,” writes Jaci Smith in the Waseca County News. This means LaDue might not face life in prison for allegedly plotting to first kill his family, then start a fire outside of town to distract first responders before heading to the high school, setting off explosives and shooting as many students as possible. LaDue’s attorneys argued that in previous attempted first-degree murder cases, the defendants had already “fired a gun, set another on fire, stabbed another, etc., with the intent to cause another person’s death. None of those acts, or anything similar, has happened in this case,” the attorneys wrote. Third District Judge Gerald Wolf agreed, saying that such cases involved actual shots fired or a firearm pointed at a victim. The county attorney’s office must now decide whether to file new charges against LaDue or appeal Wolf’s ruling. The judge, however, refused to dismiss the six possession of explosive charges, referring to the detonation of six explosive devices recovered from LaDue’s home and a storage unit.

While hundreds of Winonans failed to break the world record for number of bow-tie-wearing people in one spot at one time, they did achieve their goal of honoring former Mayor John Latsch, who donated more than 18,000 acres of land in Minnesota and Wisconsin for public use, writes Kayla Langmaid of the Winona Daily News. The world-record number was 850, but Winona mustered only 648. It was still fun, said Mary Farrell, the visitor services coordinator with Visit Winona. “Overall, we created a new awareness and a greater appreciation of what Latsch did for the area.”

A carnival worker in Moorhead decided to move in to a vacant house and furnish it with items taken from a house 11 blocks away, writes Emily Walker of the Fargo Forum. Zachary Antoni Payne, 26, who lists his last address as the Salvation Army in Lawton, Oklahoma, came to Moorhead July 8 with the Murphy Brothers Carnival. He quit the carnival, then had a falling out with a woman he had been staying with in Moorhead.  As he was walking around town, he noticed the door at 13½ Street North was open by a few inches. He started staying there. A Realtor called police when she noticed the vacant home now had furniture. After being caught in the home, Payne told police he stole the furniture from a house he broke into on Second Avenue North. He was charged Friday in Clay County District Court with one count of second-degree burglary, a felony, plus one count of receiving stolen property and one count of trespassing, both misdemeanors.

Terry Leary says she is “tickled to death” by the turnout at last week’s Olmsted County Fair, writes Brett Boese of the Rochester Post Bulletin. Preliminary estimates put attendance at 140,000, the most at the county fair since 1992. Boese writes that attendance was just 35,000 in 2010 before Leary became president and the board made it a free fair once again. Leary has been instrumental in adding new attractions such as the “Miracle of Birth” center, and historic displays on blackingsmithing, pottery-making and others. She said her focus this year was on adding commercial exhibits. Gold Star Amusements also reported its best numbers to date in Rochester, Leary said. And best of all, Leary said, the high attendance numbers came with zero incidents involving the police.

Police lights photo by Flickr user Robert Kuykendall and used under Creative Commons license.