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BCA investigating officer use of force incident in Morrison County

BCA investigating officer use of force incident in Morrison County Photo: KSTP-TV

Updated: October 16, 2019 07:09 PM

The Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is investigating an officer use of force incident from Tuesday night in Morrison County.

The BCA said officers discharged bean bag rounds or chemical munitions during the incident.

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Officer Joshua Burgardt, a 13-year veteran of the Little Falls Police Department, was identified as one of the officers involved. The identity of a Morrison County deputy is being withheld under Minnesota law that protects the identity of undercover officers. (Minn. Stat. 13.82, subd. 17 (a)).

According to the BCA, Todd County Sheriff's Office deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop near Browerville at about 5:05 p.m. in connection to an ongoing investigation of suspected criminal activity. The driver didn't stop, leading deputies to initiate a pursuit heading east on County Road 16 into Morrison County.

Morrison County deputies and Minnesota State Patrol troopers joined the pursuit, which reached speeds of 105 mph, the BCA said.

During the pursuit, the suspect fired a shot at law enforcement, but nobody was injured. The BCA said the driver lost control of the vehicle on southbound Highway 10, left the roadway and struck a tree in the west ditch in Cushing.

The BCA said the driver didn't follow officers' commands to exit the vehicle, and bean bag rounds were fired to knock out the vehicle's back window so chemical munitions could be fired into it.

As officers approached the vehicle, the found the driver had suffered an apparent gunshot wound to the head. He was taken to a hospital and airlifted to North Memorial Health in Robbinsdale where he's being treated for the apparent self-inflicted wound.

The BCA said none of the involved officers were wearing body cameras. The agency is still determining whether squad cameras captured the shooting during the pursuit or the incident at the crash site. A handgun was recovered from inside the vehicle.

The investigation remains ongoing, and when it is complete, the BCA will provide its findings to the Morrison County Attorney's Office for review.

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