By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Investigators in northern Minnesota are sorting through a series of incidents that left three people dead and a sheriff’s deputy wounded.

It all started just before 8 p.m. Thursday, when Hubbard County deputies responded to a shooting outside of a daycare in the town of Nevis. They found a woman dead when they got there. The suspect had already driven away.

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Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes told WCCO-TV Friday that the shooter took another woman hostage when he fled the daycare and later shot her as well. Deputies spotted the man’s vehicle north of Nevis and a pursuit ensued.

During the chase, which lasted for about 20 minutes across a number of icy roads, he fired at law enforcement vehicles and wounded a sheriff’s deputy. The man then drove his vehicle into a ditch on County Road 119. He then got out and exchanged gunfire with deputies.

Hubbard County deputies did return fire, and the suspect got back into his vehicle. He was later found deceased by officers.

“I knew all three of them. It’s just really sad,” said friend Eddie Neidviecky.

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He says the two women who were killed had arrived at the daycare to pick up their sister’s children. He says their sister and the suspect were going through a divorce and an altercation happened at the daycare, which he says is owned by the suspect’s mom. He says both women were well known, leaving this town of 400 in shock.

“They were awesome people. Outgoing, very friendly. Great people. Always inviting,” Neidviecky said. “I’ve spent Christmases with them before. Just a small town. Everybody knows everybody.”

The deputy that was shot was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is now investigating.

“They’re my friends, you know, they’re my co-workers,” Sheriff Aukes said. “It’s rough, you know, listening to the radio traffic, you know, people hollering ‘shots fired.’ It’s tough, you know, it really is.”

Hubbard County deputies do not wear body cameras, but they will be looking at dash cam video to help in the investigation.

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One of the deputies who exchanged gunfire with the suspect is on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

John Lauritsen