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Suspect's rifle was loaded when he was shot, says complaint

Court documents reveal more details about an officer-involved shooting at a Garfield home on February 6 - including the allegation that the suspect pointed a loaded rifle at deputies and threatened to shoot them before he was shot.

Jonathan Patrick Benson, 30, of Garfield was charged with three counts last Wednesday - assault in the first degree, which involved the deputies, and two counts of assault in the second degree, which involved others in the home.

Here's what happened, according to the criminal complaint:

Shortly before midnight on February 6, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from a resident at 9145 County Road 8 NW, Garfield.

The caller said that two individuals had been guests in her house since Thanksgiving but her son, Jonathan Benson, who also lived in the home, now wanted them to leave. She said her son was upset and moving around with a firearm, threatening the guests.

Benson talked with the dispatcher and acknowledged that he had a gun. He said he didn't want to talk to any officers; he just wanted the two individuals to leave the residence.

The dispatcher then asked Benson to unload his gun. Benson said he would and the dispatcher heard noises that sounded like a gun was being unloaded.

Sergeant Greg Windhurst and Deputy Paul Trautman responded to the home and spoke with Benson, who kept his distance and didn't cooperate with them, according to the complaint.

Benson retreated to the basement of the home and Windhurst heard what he believed was the pumping of a shotgun.

Deputies stood outside the basement door and called inside to Benson, who appeared but did not cooperate.

Benson then disappeared from the deputies' view and reappeared with a long gun.

He then pointed the gun at Deputy Paul Trautman and Deputy Jake Asfeld, according to the complaint.

Deputies fired at Benson, who then hid from their view.

Another verbal exchange ensued and Benson again threatened the deputies with the gun, according to the complaint.

Three deputies then discharged their firearms. Benson was struck multiple times and fell to the floor.

Benson yelled that he had been hit and invited the deputies to come inside. Deputies entered the home, disarmed Benson, secured him and rendered first aid until an ambulance arrived.

The two unwanted guests were identified as Shannon Porter and Aaron Cook. Cook was arrested on outstanding warrants and declined to provide a statement to the officers.

Porter provided a statement, saying that Benson had earlier pointed the gun at her and Cook and threatened to kill them, according to the complaint.

Benson was hospitalized with one gunshot wound to his neck and multiple gunshot wounds to his upper body.

Investigators said that Benson had been in possession of a .223-caliber rifle that had one live bullet in the chamber, a magazine full of live rounds and the weapon's safety button was in the "fire position," according to the complaint.

Benson remains in custody at the Douglas County Jail on $500,000 bond or $100,000 cash bail.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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