Crime, Law and Justice

Pope County, Minn., deputy killed, 2 other officers shot responding to domestic call

Seven police officers stand behind a podium as one gives remarks.
Pope County Sheriff Tim Riley speaks about slain deputy Joshua Owen during a press conference Sunday in Glenwood, Minn. Owen was killed Saturday night in Cyrus, Minn., while trying to arrest a domestic violence suspect.
Mathew Holding Eagle III | MPR News

Updated April 16, 4:10 p.m. | Posted April 15, 10:10 p.m.

A Pope County deputy was killed while another deputy and a police officer were injured Saturday night as they tried to arrest a domestic violence suspect in the western Minnesota town of Cyrus.

Pope County Sheriff Tim Riley identified the slain deputy as Joshua Owen, a nearly 12-year member of the force and a military veteran. “Deputy Owen had a heart as big as his stature,” Riley said Sunday afternoon in an emotional press conference. “He leaves behind a wife and a son. He loved his family, his brotherhood and his community.”

A police officer kneels next to a canine.
Pope County deputy Joshua Owen
Courtesy of Pope County Sheriff's Office

Owen, along with another Pope County deputy and an officer from nearby Starbuck, Minn., had responded to a 7:30 p.m. domestic violence call at a residence in Cyrus.

They entered the home and “after some initial investigation” told the suspect he was under arrest, Tim Mueller, deputy superintendent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, told reporters.

After being told he was being arrested, the man pulled out a handgun “and immediately began shooting at officers.” In the exchange of gunfire, the three officers and the man were struck. The suspect, who has yet to be identified, was killed at the scene, Mueller said.

Owen was rushed to Glacial Ridge hospital in Glenwood, Minn., where he died. The other deputy was taken to the hospital but was treated and released. The Starbuck officer was injured but was not hospitalized.

Mueller said BCA agents recovered a handgun and bullet casings at the scene. All of the officers were wearing body worn cameras that captured video of the incident.

A person reads behind a podium.
Tim Mueller, deputy superintendent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, shares details of the case at a press conference Sunday.
Mathew Holding Eagle III | MPR News

Names of the other officers involved and the suspect will be released later, he said, adding that the suspect had been living in Minnesota for less than a year.

Owen, 44, was killed on his birthday. “I’m numb at this moment. Josh came into this world April 15 1979, And on this day was taken from us. Rest easy my son,” his father wrote on Facebook.

The BCA, which regularly investigates shootings involving police, is leading the investigation.

Visibly angry, Mueller noted that seven Minnesota officers have been shot in the line of duty already in 2023. “This an alarming trend that needs to stop now,” he said.

Condolences for the deputy and his family poured in Sunday from Minnesota law enforcement and from community and political leaders across the state.

“Devastating news out of Cyrus,” Gov. Tim Walz wrote on Twitter. “My administration is in touch with local officials and stands ready to support the community.”

U.S. Rep. Michelle Fischbach said Owen was a "local hero" who recently received a distinguished service award. "This is a devastating reminder that our men and women in law enforcement put their communities above all else every single day,” Fischbach said in a statement.

Brian Peters, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, called Owen’s killing “a senseless act of violence and hate” against law enforcement. “It shows the dangers of the job that police do every day, and how what could be considered a ‘normal’ day could turn into their last day.”

A Pope County Sheriff's vehicle parks on the road.
A Pope County Sheriff's vehicle parks near the Glenwood Public Safety municipal building.
Mathew Holding Eagle III | MPR News

The Pope County shootings happened a week after two officers were killed during a traffic stop in Barron County, Wis.

On Monday, a police officer was shot and wounded while serving a search warrant in Granite Falls in western Minnesota.

Cyrus is about 2 1/2 hours northwest of the Twin Cities.

Watch: Authorities brief reporters Sunday afternoon on the shootings of three officers in Pope County, via KARE:

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