MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A kidnapping in extreme northern Minnesota ended Tuesday night with a high-speed chase and a man shooting himself as police closed in.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office says the kidnapping happened shortly after 5 p.m. in International Falls, just south of the Canadian border. A woman was forced into a van by a man with whom she had a prior relationship.
Law enforcement immediately began searching for the van. Around 8:30 p.m., deputies spotted it heading south on Highway 53, near Kabetogema Lake. A chase ensured, with speeds reaching 80 mph.
After deputies blew out the van’s tires with stop sticks, the chase came to an end in Orr, some 60 miles south of International Falls.
The driver waived a gun out the window as he pulled into a motel parking lot. Squad cars quickly surrounded the vehicle, and the kidnapped woman ran out of the van and into nearby woods.
Emergency crews quickly found the woman and brought her to a hospital to be evaluated.
At the same time as the woman fled the van, deputies heard a single gunshot coming from inside the vehicle, the sheriff’s office said. The deputies found the driver with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, but still alive.
A medical helicopter brought the man to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth. His injuries were described as life-threatening.
No officers fired their guns or were hurt in the chase, the sheriff’s office said.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting with the investigation, which is being led by the International Falls Police Department.