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Douglas County deputy cleared in shooting investigation

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -- A Douglas County deputy was justified in shooting at a Fargo couple in February, a review has found.

Douglas County Attorney Chad Larson reviewed the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s investigation into the shooting and released a statement Wednesday.

“I have concluded that Deputy (Dustin) Alexander’s use of force was clearly justified under the circumstances,” Larson said. “I am thankful that he survived this tragedy. What began as a routine call nearly ended this deputy’s life.”

According to the investigation:

On the evening of Feb. 25, Alexander approached a suspicious vehicle in the driveway of a residence southeast of Alexandria and tried to get identification from the occupants -- later identified as Devin Blowers and Katie Ray Christopherson, both of Fargo.

Blowers shot the duty in the upper chest at close range.

Alexander’s ballistic vest protected him from serious harm. The deputy returned fire and retreated to his squad car. He continued to take fire and distanced himself from the suspects, who ran into nearby woods.

A number of officers responded, and Blowers and Christopherson were later found dead in the woods.

Alexander was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. The case was investigated by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension with assistance from the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Forensic evidence indicates that Blowers shot Christopherson at close range before taking his own life in the same manner. No evidence indicates that Alexander had injured either suspect.

Toxicology tests revealed that Blowers and Christopherson were under the influence of methamphetamine, and text messages indicated that both had planned to take their own lives.

Further evidence indicates that Blowers and Christopherson had tried to break into the Glenwood Trumm Drug earlier that day. Unsuccessful, they traveled to a veterinary hospital in Alexandria, where they broke into a safe and removed medication.

Alexander returned to full duty in March.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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