FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A sheriff's deputy and a man suspected of stealing a minivan were killed in a shootout in northern North Dakota in which several officers opened fire, Rolette County Sheriff Gerald Medrud said Thursday.
Deputy Colt Allery, 29, was killed Wednesday evening after he and three other deputies exchanged gunfire with the suspect following a vehicle chase. The suspect has not been identified.
Allery had been with the sheriff's department for three months after previously working for the city of Rolette Police Department and the Turtle Mountain Tribal Police Department. Medrud, speaking at a press conference in Rolla, described his deputy as "full of spunk, cheerful, happy all the time."
The incident began about 6:10 p.m. Wednesday when officers responded to a call about a stolen minivan. Deputies pursued for about 15 miles, at speeds reaching about 85 mph, until the OnStar system was able to slow the vehicle, Medrud said. The suspect stopped at a remote intersection south of Belcourt, a town near the Canadian border that's about 240 miles northwest of Fargo.
Medrud said he believes the four officers, all of whom fired shots, followed protocol. Both Allery and the suspect were dead at the scene.
The sheriff declined to release personal details about Allery, citing the state's newly enacted "Marsy's Law" that is meant to bolster the rights of crime victims.
The three other deputies involved in the shooting have been placed on standard administrative leave, Medrud said. North Dakota's state crime bureau is handling the investigation, which will likely take about a month to complete.
Allery is the 57th law enforcement officer in North Dakota to be killed in the line of duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a national nonprofit group that keeps records of fallen officers. The last law enforcement official in the state to be killed in action was Fargo Police Officer Jason Moszer, who was shot in February 2016 while responding to a domestic disturbance.
This story has been updated to correct the location of where officers caught up with the pickup and to correct the spelling of the sheriff's first name to Gerald, instead of Gearald.