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Bethany Wesley, Forum Communications Co., Published February 01 2011

Bemidji newspaper struck by bullets for second time

BEMIDJI, Minn. – For the second time in a month, The Bemidji Pioneer newspaper, which is owned by Forum Communications Co., the same company that owns The Forum, has been struck by bullets in an apparent drive-by shooting.

An employee reported bullet damage about noon Sunday. A double-glass panel in the front entryway had a bullet hole and a lower-glass panel in the door had been shattered.

One of the damaged panes had just recently been replaced from a shooting earlier in January.

Employees were likely in the building at the time the shooting occurred. Employees had been on site until about 11:30 a.m.; the damage was found and reported just after noon.

No one was injured.

“We are concerned about our employees’ safety,” said Pioneer Publisher Dennis Doeden. “We are implementing security measures to ensure that safety.”

It is not known exactly what time the shooting occurred, but it is believed to have occurred after 6 a.m. A janitor leaves work at that time and performs a building check before he departs. He reported nothing unusual Sunday morning.

The shooting possibly could be related to a drive-by shooting that occurred just after midnight on New Year’s Day.

Police Chief Gerald Johnson said bullets from both shootings have been sent for analysis through the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

The BCA will compare the bullets and determine the likeliness of the incidents being related, Johnson said.

No suspects have been identified, he said.


Bethany Wesley writes for the Bemidji Pioneer