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Duluth mayor’s wife aided shooting victim

The wife of Duluth Mayor Don Ness was the first to reach Deandre Norwood as he lay bleeding Tuesday night from a gunshot wound to his head.

Laura Ness said she had just left Whole Foods Co-op and was approaching her truck when she heard a loud conversation across Seventh Avenue East.

“Then I heard the pop,” she said. “It was really strange.”

She debated in her mind for a few seconds. Was it a gunshot?

“No, that can only be a gunshot.”

Duluth police said Norwood, 22, was walking on Seventh Avenue just below Fourth Street at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday when he was struck by a single gunshot.

Norwood was taken in a private vehicle to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s

Medical Center, where he was stable Wednesday.

Ness said she instinctively ran across the parking lot and the avenue to aid Norwood as he lay bleeding. She fell and scraped her knee and hand in the process. She said she was the first to reach Norwood.

“I raced to this guy,” she said. “I saw he was bleeding. He kept saying, ‘I can’t see.’ I wanted to help him.”

Ness said that she was surprised that more people weren’t coming to Norwood’s aid, but many who were around at the time of the shot seemed startled, like “no one expected that to happen.”

“I felt very helpless,” she said.

As she was working to call 911 on her phone, a car raced up and some men grabbed Norwood and put him in the car, she said.

People now were gathering and yelling, she said, warning people to leave the scene as police showed up.

Police spokesman Jim Hansen said officers are following several leads but little more information was available Wednesday.

Ness said she didn’t feel traumatized by the incident at the time but was thinking “it’s someone else’s trauma.” She told police on the scene what she saw and did, thinking it wasn’t much help.

“I’m very glad he didn’t die,” Ness said.

She said she woke up a few times during the night after the shooting, thinking about what happened. During the day Wednesday, her hand kept bleeding from her fall while running to Norwood, another reminder. She said she’s feeling more wistful than angry after a gun crime in a city she takes special interest in as the wife of the mayor.

Police have not said what they believe was behind the shooting. Ness said she and the mayor discussed the incident when she got home. She said it’s a shame that a dispute could lead to a shooting.

“We have a very tame life,” she said. “Here I was involved in someone’s huge drama and then there’s our own quiet life. … We talked about opportunities and choices people are left with. I just have empathy for everyone involved.”

Article written by Mike Creger of the Duluth News Tribune

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