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Suspect identified in north-central Minnesota shooting that left 3 dead; deputy recovering

Thee people are dead in a shooting in Nevis, Minn. The initial call led to a chase in which a deputy was wounded. Matt Henson / WDAY

NEVIS, Minn. — Law enforcement officials say the three people who died in a north-central Minnesota shooting that also left a deputy wounded, knew each other.

WDAY-TV identified the armed suspect late Friday night as 34-year-old Bryce Bellomo, and the other two killed as his sisters-in-law.

Authorities had not yet determined a motive Friday, Feb. 15, for the shooting that took place Thursday night, which was Valentine's Day. The shooting led to a deputy being wounded during a chase.

The Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call just before 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14. about the shooting at a home day care in the city of Nevis, a town of around 400 around 100 miles east of Fargo. The incident started as a domestic dispute, officials said.

Bellomo, whose Facebook page lists him as an award-winning taxidermist, volunteer firefighter, Boy Scout leader and baseball coach, was served divorce papers earlier in February, according to public records. In March 2018, he was charged with domestic assault for an incident involving his wife.

When deputies arrived, they found a dead woman and learned that the armed suspect fled in the victim's car with a second victim in the back, who had also been shot and killed, the sheriff's office said.

Eddie Neidviecky, a friend of the people involved, told WCCO the two women had arrived to pick up their sister's children at the day care owned and operated by Bellomo's mother. Neidviecky said a divorce between the suspect and the sister was a factor in the altercation and shootings.

Deputies located Bellomo north of Nevis at about 9:15 p.m. and a pursuit ensued on County Road 119 southeast of Nevis, according to the sheriff's office.

During the 20-minute chase, the suspect shot at pursuing vehicles, hitting a deputy and causing him to drive into a roadside ditch. The pursuit ended just a few miles down the road when his vehicle also went into a ditch on County Road 119.

A pursuing deputy arrived at the car and found Bellomo outside of the vehicle. The deputy then exchanged gunfire with the suspect.

“All of a sudden I hear rapid gunfire … I hear officers screaming,” said Aaron Shaw, who was watching a movie with his family in a home just a few hundred feet away from the gun fight.

Shaw said he and his family feared for their lives.

At some point during the exchange, the suspect got back into the vehicle.

Deputies later determined Bellomo was dead and discovered the second woman’s body in the back seat of the car. It is not yet known if the man was killed by police or a self-inflicted gunshot wound. All three bodies were taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office for autopsies and identification.

The deputy who was shot was treated at St. Joseph Hospital in Park Rapids and then Essentia Health in Fargo and is now back home, according to the sheriff's office.

Nevis resident Sherman Anderson said he’s good friends with the deputy who was shot and met with him Friday morning.

“He was struck by a projectile or projectiles. He's very lucky; has a ding on the top of his head, (a) few stitches on the other side,” Anderson said, noting that the deputy was in positive spirits and happy to be home.

Anderson asked that the deputy not be named until police say who was involved in the incident.

The deputy who fired shots has been placed on standard administrative leave, the sheriff's office said. Authorities will release his name and the names of the three killed Saturday.

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents responded but did not witness the incident.

Hubbard County Sheriff's Office said its deputies don't wear body cameras, and investigators will determine if dash cameras captured the pursuit and shooting. Wadena County Sheriff Michael Carr said four or five Wadena County sheriff’s deputies went to the scene helping with traffic control during the night. “It’s unfortunate what happened last night, but everybody did what they needed to do,” Carr said. “At the end of the day it’s a tragic event.”

A woman who lived next door to where the shooting took place said she can't believe what happened.

“I never dreamt it would happen in my little town,” said Nevis resident Kathy Brown, who lives next door to the home day care where the shooting took place. “I just want to pray for those families, because they are the ones who need the help now.”