UPDATE TUESDAY: Deputy shot, two suspects found dead in Douglas County
More information has been released about a shooting south of Alexandria last night that injured a Douglas County Sheriff's deputy and left two suspects dead.
No names were released. The deputy is a three-year veteran of the sheriff's office and had previous law enforcement experience before being hired by Douglas County. He's been placed on standard administrative leave while the investigation proceeds.
The suspects have been tentatively identified as a 29-year-old female and a 24-year-old male, both from North Dakota. Their names will be released after they are positively identified by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office.
The incident began at 9:17 p.m Monday when the sheriff's office received a call about a suspicious vehicle, parked in a driveway at 3140 50th Avenue in Hudson Township just south of Alexandria. A deputy responded and made contact with the two people inside the vehicle.
One of the occupants fired a gun at the deputy, striking him in the chest, according to the sheriff's office. The deputy returned fire and the suspects fled the scene in a small four-door sedan. Sheriff Troy Wolbersen described the initial shots as a "close range exchange" of gunfire.
The vehicle traveled only a short distance before it got stuck in the snow and the occupants fled on foot, firing additional shots at the deputy.
The deputy was wearing a bullet-proof vest, which likely saved his life since he was shot in the upper portion of the chest, Wolbersen said. The deputy called for help and an ambulance transported him to the Douglas County Hospital, where he was treated and released. He is now at home, recuperating, Wolbersen said.
A Minnesota State Patrol helicopter responded to the scene and used an infrared imaging device to locate the suspects in a wooded area, about 200 yards from the vehicle.
Deputies then approached the suspects and found both of them dead in deep snow near an outbuilding. A handgun and a long gun were recovered near their bodies.
The cause and manner of death for the suspects will be determined by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office.
When asked if this incident could be related to other recent crimes in the area, Wolbersen said that investigators are looking into all possibilities.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is handling the investigation, which is ongoing. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.
The sheriff's office was assisted by the Alexandria Police Department, State Patrol, Department of Natural Resources, the BCA and numerous area law enforcement agencies.