Two dead, deputy wounded by gunfire following traffic stop in Wadena County

Updated: 5:05 p.m.

Two people are dead and a sheriff's deputy was wounded after an attempted traffic stop ended in gunfire Saturday night in Wadena County.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the incident — the third fatal police shooting in the state in less than a week.

According to the Wadena County Sheriff's Office, a deputy attempted to stop a vehicle for a traffic violation just after 8:45 p.m. Saturday on a county road about 7 miles east of Sebeka.

The vehicle stopped after about a mile, near the junction of 205th Street and 270th Avenue. The sheriff's office gave this account of what happened next:

"A struggle ensued between the deputy and the motorist. A second motorist then arrived on scene and a short time later, a Sebeka Police Department officer arrived and the struggle continued. A short time later, at least one of the motorists began shooting at the officers. One of the officers returned fire. All four were struck by gunfire."

One of the drivers died at the scene; the other later died at the hospital in Wadena.

The injured deputy was taken to the hospital in Park Rapids, then transferred to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale with what authorities said were serious but not life-threatening injuries. In an update late Sunday afternoon, the BCA said the deputy had been released from the hospital and was recovering at home.

The Sebeka police officer was struck in their bulletproof vest but did not require medical treatment.

It was not clear from the sheriff’s office statement why the second driver stopped at the scene, and whether they had attempted to aid either the deputy or the first driver.

Authorities have not released the names of the two people who died, or the law enforcement officers involved in the shooting. The BCA said Sunday that it is working to determine whether there was any squad or body camera footage of the incident.

Few other details were available Sunday, though the sheriff's office said "there is no ongoing threat to the public."

Local and state investigators remained at the shooting scene early Sunday, with authorities asking people to stay away from the area.

Saturday's shooting follows the fatal shooting of a man after a lengthy standoff with law enforcement in Duluth on Friday. That nearly 20-hour-long standoff started with a domestic assault call and also resulted in the death of a police dog.

And a man was fatally shot by law enforcement officers last Sunday, Feb. 21, near Braham after a carjacking in Blaine and a pursuit north into Isanti County. A police dog was wounded in the exchange of gunfire.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.