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Life & Sacrifice: Fallen deputy honored at State Capitol

Contributed photo courtesy of David Oakes, Senate photographer Members of the Douglas County Honor Guard participated in Law Enforcement Memorial Day observances in St. Paul Saturday. They included (front to back) Paul Trautman, Art Vinson, Kevin Wiseman and Ron Boyden. The memorial behind them reads, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God."

The life of a Douglas County sheriff's deputy who was killed in the line of duty nearly 33 years ago was remembered on Saturday, May 15.

As part of Law Enforcement Memorial Day, Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen of Alexandria addressed the Minnesota Senate about the life and death of Curt Felt.

Felt was shot and killed on June 29, 1977 while transporting a prisoner from the Douglas County Courthouse.

The shooter, a convicted drunk driver, had appeared in court for sentencing. No one knew that he had four concealed guns with him - two 9mm automatic pistols tucked in his belt, a .25 automatic in his trouser pocket and a .357 magnum in his coat.

When Felt arrived to transport him to jail, the prisoner shot him and fled the scene.

Felt died a few hours later in surgery from his injuries.

After a chase and standoff with authorities, the suspect was shot and died three days later.

Ingebrigtsen gave his remarks on the floor of the Minnesota Senate just prior to laying a wreath in Felt's honor at the Peace Officers Memorial. The former sheriff was accompanied by the Douglas County Honor Guard.

Here are the remarks Ingebrigtsen delivered:

"Mr. president and members:

"I would like to indulge this body for a few moments and give you a personal story.

"In 1975, a young man named Curt Felt came to our sheriff's department in Douglas County. He was a vibrant, intelligent man who had a dream of serving his community and being a Deputy Sheriff in his home county of Douglas.

"Before being hired, Curt would always call me and ask to ride along with me on patrol. He simply loved the idea that someday, he may have the honor to serve and become a real deputy.

"Well, he did become a deputy sheriff and we became very close friends, and eventually partners.

"On the first week of November 1977, this young deputy sheriff married his wife, Donna. My wife, Marilyn, was the maid of honor and I was the best man. We proudly walked down the aisle with these young newlyweds.

"A short eight months later, on June 29, Deputy Sheriff Curt Felt was murdered. He was killed by a gunman while doing what we loved doing, which was protecting and serving his community. We learned later that this was a random murder, meaning whoever responded to this incident would probably have suffered the same fate.

"Mr. president and members: A short eight months after Deputy Felt's wedding, we retired his number and badge. I pinned his badge on his uniform before we carried him down that same aisle.

"Mr. president and members:

"Saturday, May 15, is Law Enforcement Memorial Day. On this day, Minnesotans and police officers from our great state will gather on the State Capitol grounds to remember our fallen heroes. On this same day, our president, officers and family will gather to honor our nation's fallen officers at the National Law Enforcement Memorial grounds in Washington, D.C.

"Mr. president and members:

"I ask that we remember our fallen officers at this time by standing and bowing our heads in a moment of silence. Thank you."