Investigation into February shooting clears deputy
A Douglas County sheriff’s deputy involved in a shooting this past February has been officially cleared of any wrongdoing.
Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson reviewed the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s investigation into the shooting and released a statement Wednesday.
“I have concluded that Deputy [Dustin] Alexander’s use of force was clearly justified under the circumstances,” Larson said. “I am thankful that he survived this tragedy. What began as a routine call nearly ended this deputy’s life. I think we sometimes forget that officers are out there putting their lives on the line for our safety. The next time you see a law enforcement officer, thank them.”
According to the investigation:
During the evening hours of February 25, Deputy Alexander was dispatched to a suspicious vehicle located in the driveway of a residence southeast of Alexandria.
While attempting to get identification information from the occupants, a male and female, the deputy was shot in the upper chest at close range by the male driver.
Deputy Alexander’s ballistic vest protected him from serious bodily harm or death. The deputy returned fire and retreated to his squad car. He continued to take fire and distanced himself from the suspects. The suspects then approached the residence on foot and fled into a nearby woods.
A number of officers responded, including two SWAT teams and a State Patrol helicopter. The helicopter located two heat sources in the woods, and directed officers to that location. Both suspects were found dead. The male was identified as Devin Blowers; the female was identified as Katie Ray Christopherson, both of Fargo, North Dakota.
Pursuant to policy, Deputy Alexander was placed on administrative leave until basic conclusions could be made regarding the incident.
The matter was extensively investigated by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension with the assistance of the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office.
All forensic evidence indicates that Blowers shot Christopherson at close range before taking his own life in the same manner. There is no evidence indicating that Deputy Alexander had injured either party.
Toxicology reveals that both parties were under the influence of methamphetamine.
Evidence in the form of text messages indicates that both parties had planned to take their own lives.
Further evidence indicates that the parties had attempted to break into the Glenwood Trumm Drug earlier that day. After being unsuccessful, they traveled to a veterinary hospital in Alexandria, broke into a safe, and removed medication.
Deputy Alexander returned to full duty in March.