A suspect has been taken into custody hours after a shooting that injured five officers in Minnesota’s Benton County Thursday morning.
According to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, all five shot are members of the Sherburne County Drug Task Force. They are all expected to survive.
“This has been a difficult day. And we are grateful that the incident did not result in further injury or in loss of life,” Benton County Sheriff Troy Heck said. “We are also grateful for the bravery and professionalism of all the law enforcement personnel involved in this incident.”
The suspect is 64-year-old Karl Holmberg, authorities said, who was formally charged Friday.
Heck says the task force members were confronted by the suspect while executing a search warrant near the intersection of 190th Avenue Northeast and Glendorado Road Northeast in Glendorado Township. The township is located just west of Princeton.
The officers exchanged fire with the suspect during the initial confrontation around 7 a.m., officials said. Around 10:45 a.m., the suspect was taken into custody without further incident. The suspect was injured and transported from the scene for treatment.
“We don’t know at this point the extent or cause of his injuries,” Heck said.
Of the five officers injured, three were from the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office, one was from the Princeton Police Department and another was from the Elk River Police Department. Heck said two of the Sherburne County deputies were shot in bulletproof vests and have since been released from the hospital. The other three officers suffered gunshot wounds, but Heck did not say where they were shot. Their injuries are described as non-life threatening.
Heck said he could not identify the officers because “all were working in an undercover capacity.”
Heck says deputies from his department were also at the scene during the incident, but were not injured. Multiple other agencies assisted, as well.
“We had people coming from all over,” Heck said. “When there’s a need in this community in law enforcement, people come.”
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating.
“This is still a very active scene and there is still a lot of information we don’t know,” Special Agent Michelle Frascone said.
Sky4 helicopter footage showed a person being loaded into an armored vehicle around 11 a.m., it has yet to be confirmed if that was the suspect.
Neighbors WCCO spoke with said they are in shock that this happened so close to home.
“I woke up and there was an alert saying that there was a shooting in the area and I looked it up and it’s right across the street pretty much,” Kelly Moos said. “It’s kind of scary. My kids were getting on the bus at the time.”
Neighbors also said hearing several law enforcement officers were shot is a wake-up call for the mostly quiet township.
“It’s pretty sad because we support the men and women in blue,” Mike Mago said. “Prayers go out to the police officers and their families for sure. I’m hoping everything turns out well for them.”
Sky4 footage key moments
At around 10:15 a.m., a person in a red robe is seen approaching law enforcement outside the property and raising their arms. They head back to the residence shortly later.
At around 10:45 p.m., what appears to be the same person without a robe is seen sitting outside the house. The person then appears to get up before being hit by a non-lethal projectile, which sprays green mist into the air.
Just after 10:50 a.m., an individual was loaded into an armed vehicle and taken to a helicopter.
WCCO crews noted the presence of sheriff’s deputies from Benton and Sherburn counties, as well as Minnesota State Patrol squads. SWAT vehicles have also been seen at the scene, and there is at least one helicopter monitoring the area.
Glendorado Township is located about 60 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
Minnesota governor calls the incident “horrific”
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz released a statement shortly after 2 p.m.:
“Today there was a horrific incident in Benton County where five officers were shot. Thankfully no one was killed and the suspect is now in custody. My thoughts are with the officers as they recover, and we’re keeping in close touch with the local authorities.”
MPPOA reacts to shooting of 5 officers
Following the news of five officers shot, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association released a statement.
“Today five police officers were shot & injured in Benton Co, near Princeton, MN. Please pray for the officers and their families as they undergo medical treatment. Today’s injuries once again illustrate the increased and grave danger posed to law enforcement & communities. Our thoughts and prayers are with the responding officers, for answering the call in the face of danger and putting their lives on the line to help victims of crime and to keep the public safe.”
Local officers killed in 2023 shootings
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, there was one officer killed by gunfire in Minnesota so far in 2023. Pope County, Minnesota Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Owen was killed in a shootout in April. Another deputy and a Starbuck police officer were also shot, but survived.
There have been four officers killed by gunfire in Wisconsin this year. In February, Police Officer Peter Jerving was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a robbery suspect in the Milwaukee metro area. In April, Hunter Scheel of Cameron and Emily Breidenbach of Chetek were killed in a shootout after serving a warrant at a traffic stop, and Deputy Kaitie Leising, 29, was responding to a call about a potential drunk driver in a ditch in May when “gunfire was exchanged” and she was killed.
Just across the border in Fargo, North Dakota, 37-year-old Mohamad Barakat, shot and killed Fargo Police Officer Jake Wallin and wounded officers Andrew Dotas and Tyler Hawes as they responded to a routine traffic crash on July 14.