The man accused of shooting five police officers in east central Minnesota on Thursday morning told his wife it was “his day to die” before opening fire, according to charges now filed in Benton County.
Karl Holmberg, 64, faces six counts of first-degree attempted murder and six counts of first-degree assault.
Holmberg was already known to law enforcement in the area and Benton County Sheriff Troy Heck said he was not surprised by the shooting. Court records show Holmberg was convicted of cocaine possession in 1986 and another felony drug possession in 2006. Most recently, in 2019, he was convicted of a petty misdemeanor for not wearing his seatbelt in a vehicle.
Criminal complaint details
Charges say that six officers from the Sherburne County Drug Task Force and the Benton County Sheriff’s Office were trying to serve a knock-and-announce narcotics warrant around 7:15 a.m. at Holmberg’s home on 190th Avenue Northeast, near Princeton.
According to the body-worn camera, they announced their presence before and after entering the home, but were met with gunfire “within seconds.” The six officers, five of whom were shot, retreated.
Holmberg’s wife, who was in the home at the time, said she woke up to Holmberg telling her that “they” were here. Charges go on to say that he showed her footage from an exterior camera monitor of the police gathering outside.
He then said that it was “his day to die,” documents say. His wife said that there were multiple guns laid out on the bed. She then said that she heard a door kicked in, and Holmberg started shooting “blindly” through the closed bedroom door.
Holmberg then told her to help him shoot, and when she refused, he called her a coward, documents say.
During the shooting, an officer suffered “substantial” injuries to their right arm. One was shot in the chest and hip, and another was shot in the hand. Two others were also shot and taken to the hospital, charges state. All are expected to survive.
Holmberg surrendered around 10:45 a.m., after several hours of negotiations. He was taken into custody and transported from the scene due to an injury. Officials, however, said they weren’t certain about the extent or cause of his injuries.
There were several guns found in the home, including handguns, a shotgun, a rifle, and one of the officer’s guns, according to the charges. There were .223 shell casings in the bedroom of the home.
According to Benton County Sheriff Troy Heck, Holmberg was known to law enforcement and had a criminal record.
Heck added that the officers were all working in an undercover capacity, and their names will not be released. Two of the five officers were still in the hospital when charges were filed Friday morning.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is leading the investigation, says Holmberg will be released from the hospital Friday, and will then be booked into the Benton County Jail.
Holmberg appears in court
Holmberg appeared in court in a wheelchair on Friday. His bail was set at $6 million unconditionally, or $3 million with conditions.
When he spoke in court, he said officers gave no positive identification, so he argued that there was no way he could have known they were police officers. He added that he was sorry he shot anybody, but no one had a right to kick down his door.
Messages left for relatives of Holmberg were not returned. His former lawyer, Todd Young, said he hasn’t spoken to Holmberg in years.
Source : CBS