(AP) – CYRUS, MN – One sheriff’s deputy died on his 44th birthday and two other law enforcement officers were injured after a shootout in west-central Minnesota that also killed the suspect in a domestic assault call Saturday night.
Pope County Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Owen died at the hospital Saturday after the shooting that happened around 7:30 p.m. at an apartment in Cyrus, authorities said. Another deputy and a police officer from Starbuck, Minnesota, were also injured. But they are expected to be OK.
The shooting began after the officers told a man that he was going to be arrested for domestic assault. Scott Mueller, deputy superintendent for investigations at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said the man responded by pulling a handgun and shooting at the officers. That agency is investigating the shooting.
The man officers exchanged gunfire with died at the scene. His name and the names of the other officers involved in the incident were not immediately released Sunday.
Mueller said all three officers were wearing body cameras, and that footage will be released later.
This shooting extends a streak of gunfire involving police officers in the state.
“In 2023, we’ve had seven police officers shot in the line of duty in Minnesota,” Mueller said. “This is an alarming trend that needs to stop now.”
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association identified Owen as the deputy who died Sunday morning.
“This killing is a senseless act of violence and hate towards police officers who put everything on the line to serve and protect our communities,” the association’s director, Brian Peters, said. “It shows the dangers of the job that police do every day, and how what could be considered a ‘normal’ day could turn into their last day.”
Owen had worked as a deputy for nearly 12 years after previously serving in the U.S. military, Sheriff Tim Riley said. His squad car was parked outside the Pope County Courthouse in Glenwood Sunday with a bouquet of flowers on the ground in front of the car.
“Deputy Owen had a heart as big as his stature. He leaves behind a wife and a son,” Riley said while trying to hold back tears at a news conference Sunday afternoon. “He loved his family, his brotherhood and his community.”
According to the Pope County Sheriff’s office’s Facebook page, Owen was just honored last month along with two other first responders for his response to a Glenwood house fire in November. The department said Owen helped care for an individual injured in the fire after another deputy and another responder pulled that person from a burning house.
Cyrus is a town of about 300 people that is 140 miles west of Minneapolis.