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Video: Authorities Working to Determine Motive in Fond du Lac Funeral Shooting

Oct 19, 2019 06:21AM ● By Editor
Photo:  WDIO-TV

From WDIO-TV - October 19, 2019

A 28-year-old Minneapolis man has been arrested following a shooting on the Fond du Lac Reservation on Friday morning.

The incident at the Head Start building gymnasium was reported at 9:46. Interim Cloquet Police Chief Derek Randall says initial information suggests one shot was fired during a funeral. Authorities say funeral-goers restrained the suspect before police took him into custody. 

A 45-year-old man from Minneapolis was shot in the head. He was first taken to the Cloquet Memorial Hospital, then transferred to Essentia in Duluth. Authorities say they do not believe his condition is life-threatening. 

Police said it appears the victim and suspect knew each other, but Randall said they do not know if the suspect was also attending the funeral or went there specifically to confront the victim. 

A rifle believed to have been used in the shooting was also recovered and taken into evidence.

Tribal Chairman Kevin DuPuis said it was a stressful day.

"How do you think you would feel if your community was hit with something like that on one of the most important ceremonies that our people have is a funeral?" he asked. 

He said once the suspect was in custody, their focus was on the grieving family members attending the funeral.

"I think the first thing was to continue with the funeral, to take care of that person, to send that person home the right way," DuPuis said.

Band spokesperson Rita Aspinwall said the man who was arrested is not an enrolled member of the band.

"[Shootings] happen everywhere but it especially hurts when it happens in your own community," Aspinwall said during a news conference.

The Fond du Lac Ojibwe School and Fond du Lac tribal offices went into lockdown, which has now been lifted. There was no school going on, but some students were using the facility. Police say there were no students at the Head Start building at the time of the shooting. 

Support services are available 24/7 by phone. Call Michelle's Crisis Cell at (218) 655-3669. 

In person, crisis teams are at the Min No Aya Win Clinic at these times:

  • 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19
  • 12 - 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20

People should enter the building through the W2 door.

The Birch Tree Crisis Response line is also availabe at (218) 623-1800.

Crisis response will also be available next week. Aspinwall said the band will announce further details later.

Watch WDUO-TV team Coverage of the Incident here

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