OGEMA TOWNSHIP, Minn. (FOX 9) - Murder charges have been filed in a deadly shooting in northern Minnesota that appears to be wrapped up in a love triangle, in which a man is accused of killing the man who was dating his ex-girlfriend.
The investigation into the shooting started around 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning when a man in a truck had dropped a shooting victim off at the Essentia Hospital in Sandstone, Minnesota.
According to the charges, the man in the truck, later identified as 36-year-old John Quitter, had left a note with hospital staff that had his name on it and an address for some property at the end of Lake Alma Road in rural Ogema Township. Hospital staff said Quitter had also left a driver's license for the victim and a phone number.
Investigators say Quitter told hospital staff he was going to pick up the victim's girlfriend from "the woods". Hospital staff asked him to stay but said he ultimately left in a Dodge Ram, which was later determined to belong to the victim.
Deputies say they called the phone number on the note that Quitter left and spoke with a woman who identified herself as the victim's girlfriend. The girlfriend, who was distraught, told deputies she had gone with the victim to pick up some of her belongings from the camper that Quitter lived in on a plot of property on Lake Alma Road.
As the couple arrived at Quitter's camper, the girlfriend told deputies she had gotten into an argument with the victim. Even after she went into the camper to get her stuff, the argument continued with the victim yelling at her from outside a window. Eventually, the girlfriend said she told her boyfriend to leave. At that point, she said he punched the camper window, breaking it.
The charges state the girlfriend then heard a gunshot a short time later.
After the victim arrived at the hospital, Quitter wasn't spotted again until deputies saw him driving on Rutabaga Road, about 20 miles north of the shooting scene. According to the charges, Quitter was driving "all over the road" and refused to stop when deputies tried to pull him over. He led investigators on a chase that reached speeds of 80 mph until law enforcement was able to box his vehicle in at a construction site.
Despite the chase, according to the charges, Quitter agreed to speak with investigators.
In the charges, investigators say Quitter tried to walk back his story, giving different stories about how the victim was shot. However, investigators say Quitter later admitted he fired his gun while the victim was standing at the corner of the camper, near his truck. However, the charges state Quitter denied shooting the victim on purpose but admitted he shot in the area where the victim was standing.
According to the chargers, after being shot, Quitter said the victim climbed into his truck, but Quitter said "he knew something was wrong because [the victim] wasn't leaving."
Quitter told investigators he ultimately pushed the victim into the passenger seat and drove him to the hospital. However, investigators say Quitter admitted he never called 911 before or after arriving at the hospital.
According to the charges, Quitter was not allowed to have a gun due to past convictions. He is charged with murder in the second degree, possession of a firearm, and fleeing a peace officer.
Quitter is being held in Pine County Jail on $500,000 bail.