Off-duty Elk River police officer, son found dead in St. Michael home

Christopher Besser
Christopher Besser

An off-duty Elk River police officer and his 27-year-old son were fatally shot in a St. Michael, Minn. home Saturday night, and the officer's younger son is currently in custody after turning himself in.

On Saturday at 7:06 p.m., Wright County sheriff's officials said a man called 911 saying he had been shot on the 4500 block of Mayfield Avenue Northeast. Deputies found Blake Besser, 27, dead in the kitchen from an apparent gunshot wound and officer Todd Besser, 49, dead in the basement, also with an apparent gunshot wound.

About 45 minutes later, 21-year-old Chris Besser called police to turn himself in from the Kwik Stop gas station in Monticello. Wright County deputies took him into custody without incident. The Wright County sheriff's office is investigating and said the incident "appears to be a domestic situation," and they are not seeking any other suspects.

Elk River Police Chief Ron Nierenhausen said Besser was a 16-year veteran and had also served as a liaison officer in the public school system.

Elk River police statement

"In addition to his 16 years as a police officer with the City of Elk River, Officer Besser was also a military veteran with 12 years active duty in the United States Air Force. He continued his military service with the United States Air Force Reserve in Minneapolis retiring with more than 20 years of combined service. Prior to his hiring with the Elk River Police Department, Officer Besser was a Corrections Officer with Washington County.

Officer Besser was a highly decorated police officer with the department receiving the Medal of Valor, two Life Saving awards, three Unit Citations, and a Police Service Ribbon. In addition, he was a firearms instructor, SWAT Negotiator, Field Training Officer, and spent four years as a detective."

Flags were lowered to half staff Monday morning in Officer Besser's honor.

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