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Kevin Bonham, Forum News Service, Published September 04 2013

Walsh County deputy shoots suspect; sheriff says man threatened with shotgun

LANKIN, N.D. — A Park River resident was injured when he was shot Tuesday night by a Walsh County deputy sheriff who responded to a call about a man threatening suicide.

Nathan Paul McNelis, 25, initially was taken to First Care Health Center in Park River, before being airlifted to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks.

His condition is unknown, although authorities said his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

A Walsh County deputy sheriff, who has not been named, has been placed on administrative leave, according to protocol, while the investigation is conducted, according to Sheriff Lauren Wild.

The incident began at 8:07 p.m. Tuesday after the sheriff’s office received a call about a man threatening suicide on a farm about 10 miles west of Lankin.

When deputies arrived, officers heard shots being fired in the farmyard, according to the sheriff. Additional units from the North Dakota Highway Patrol and sheriff’s departments from Nelson and Ramsey counties also arrived to assist.

Officers entered the yard, where McNelis’ parents live, and escorted a number of family members out of the house and to a safe location, away from the scene, according to a news release from the sheriff’s department.

After a search of the farm, McNelis was found in the backyard of the house with a shotgun, Wild said.

“The suspect came out from a darkened area with the shotgun,” Wild said. “He refused to drop the weapon and it appeared that he was going to point the weapon at my deputy. (The suspect) was shot as a result, to neutralize the situation.”

A Walsh County deputy fired three rounds, striking the man one time, knocking him to the ground, according to the report.

The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating.