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Forum News Service, Published June 27 2013

Man involved in standoff in Beltrami County dies; was shot by deputy

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP — The identity of the gunman in Wednesday’s standoff with police hasn’t been released, but the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Thursday he was pronounced dead on arrival after being airlifted to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo.

Family members identified the man as Miquell Deppa, a 34-year-old father of five. A death notice for Deppa was posted on the website of Cease Funeral Home in Bemidji on Thursday.

According to police, Deppa barricaded himself in a home at 9203 Spencer Road NW Wednesday afternoon. Police were called just before 5 p.m. on reports that Deppa was distraught, carrying a rifle and “making threats about killing himself or law enforcement,” according to the BCA.

Deppa threatened to shoot law enforcement throughout the day, said Jill Oliveira of the BCA, and emerged from the home pointing his weapon at officers.

That action prompted Beltrami County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Roberts, acting as a sniper for the Mississippi Headwaters Task Force SWAT team, to shoot Deppa just after 8 p.m. Wednesday, according to the BCA. Roberts, an eight-year veteran of the force is on “standard administrative leave,” the release stated.

Oliveira said an autopsy is scheduled for Friday at the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Paul to determine the cause of death and to officially identify Deppa’s body.

After being wounded, Deppa retreated into the house, but emerged a short time later, when he was treated and transported to Fargo.

“I can tell you that he was not pronounced dead until he reached the hospital,” Oliveira said.

When police first arrived, they helped two women in the home get out safely, but Deppa remained inside. Hours before being shot by Roberts, police said Deppa shot toward them.

“Interviews with witnesses and the officers that were on the scene indicate officers believed the individual was firing in their direction outside the home, then retreated back inside,” Oliveira said. “As deputies approached the scene on foot they said the individual fired in their direction.”

The standoff lasted more than four hours, and required a presence by eight law enforcement agencies at the scene, which is about 12 miles north and west of Bemidji. About 7:30 p.m., a single shot rang out. Shortly after, family and members of the media were pushed about a quarter-mile west on Spencer Road.

“He’s popping off with a long rifle. I don’t want anyone getting hit,” a deputy told family.

Mhegan Deppa, who said Miquell Deppa was her brother, told The Pioneer that the man had anxiety issues. His father, Jeff Deppa, said the same on scene Wednesday.

“He’s been battling a lot of demons for a lot of years,” Mhegan Deppa said early Thursday.