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Nathan Bowe, Forum Communications, Published May 14 2012

Detroit Lakes police officer Chad Jutz dies of gunshot wound

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – A 19-year veteran of the Detroit Lakes Police Department died Sunday evening near his home from a gunshot wound, apparently self-inflicted, officials said Monday.

Patrol Officer Chad Jutz, 40, was well-regarded and active both in Detroit Lakes and in the Frazee community, where his family has deep roots, said Becker County Sheriff Tim Gordon, who is serving as spokesman for the case.

“He died of a gunshot wound,” Gordon said. “No foul play is suspected.”

Jutz was not under any kind of investigation, Gordon said.

His body was found by a friend about 8 p.m. Sunday on wooded recreational land Jutz owned near the house he shared with his wife and four children.

Gordon declined to provide details about the case because it is still officially under investigation.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is handling the investigation because it would be emotionally difficult for local officers who knew Jutz.

The Detroit Lakes Police Department was closed Monday and deputies, White Earth tribal police officers and part-time officers were handling patrol duties for the city.

That started Sunday evening and will continue perhaps through today, Gordon said.

“We wanted to help out with their grieving process,” Gordon said. “It’s a huge loss in a department that size.”

There are 16 officers, investigators and other employees, including Chief Tim Eggebraaten, in the Detroit Lakes Police Department.

The death of the usually amiable, upbeat Jutz shocked both law enforcement and the wider community.

“We have had this happen before with public employees,” Gordon said, “but never with anybody this well-known and out in the community.”


Bowe writes for the Detroit Lakes Tribune