By Bill Hudson

SAUK RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO) — Yellow crime scene tape still flutters in the breeze that’s sweeping over an upscale Sauk Rapids neighborhood.

This is where neighbors awoke around 2:30 a.m. Friday to the sounds of gunshots, barking dogs and squealing tires.

“We got a phone call of shots fired in a neighborhood just on the east side of our town,” Police Chief Perry Beise said.

Chief Beise says his officers were nearby and quickly stopped a car with two injured men inside. They were being driven to the hospital by an unnamed person.

The two men were soon transported by ambulance to the St. Cloud Hospital. That’s where one of the shooting victims died and the other remains sedated following emergency surgery.

“We’re talking to everybody we can think of that may know them and trying to put a picture together of what happened,” Chief Beise explained.

The shooting happened outside the home of the victim’s sister, within the Creekside Village development just a few miles east of Sauk Rapids.

The woman took to social media after the shooting to decry the violence and identified her dead brother as Joe Ditthidet.

joe ditthidet Police Search For Killer In Sauk Rapids Double Shooting

Joe Ditthidet (credit: Facebook)

Neighbors are angered and fearful, saying some 20 children live within a block of the shooting scene.

Some residents say they have grown suspicious of the area where the shooting occurred due to unusual traffic patterns occurring at all hours of the night.

With still no arrests in the case their fears are understandable, although police are trying to ease their concerns.

“We don’t believe that the community is in any way in danger. We believe that these people knew each other and are familiar with each other,” Beise added.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, violent crimes task force and Benton County Sheriff’s investigators are assisting. Hoping to find both a motive behind the shooting and the perpetrators.

Badly needed answers that will give confidence to a Sauk Rapids neighborhood that it will soon have its peace restored.


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