Pope County deputy killed: Suspect, injured officers identified

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension on Wednesday released the names of the officer and deputy who were injured and the suspect who was killed during an incident in western Minnesota that left Pope County Deputy Josh Owen dead.

The BCA said law enforcement officials involved in the incident are:

  • Pope County Deputy Josh Owen, who was shot three times and killed in the incident, had 14 years of experience. He fired his department handgun during the incident.
  • Pope County Deputy Brody Merrill has four years of law enforcement experience and is on standard administrative leave after firing his department handgun. He was struck by a handgun round in the upper chest, in the vest.
  • Starbuck Police Officer Alex Olson was shot in the ankle. He did not fire his weapon. 

The suspect, Bryan Nygard, 34, of Cyrus, died of multiple gunshot wounds on April 15, according to the BCA. 

What happened

According to the BCA's preliminary investigation, just after 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, Olson responded to a domestic violence call at an apartment in Cyrus. Deputies Owen and Merrill responded after him. When they arrived, they went into the home and spoke to Nygard and a woman. 

After some initial investigation, the officers informed Nygard he was under arrest, the BCA said. He had been seated at a table but then stood up, drew a gun and began firing. Deputies Owen and Merrill then returned fire, while Olson was in the hallway and did not fire. 

In the exchange of gunfire, all three officers and Nygard were hit, the BCA said. Nygard died at the scene. Owen was taken to the hospital, where he later died. 

Deputy Merrill was taken to the hospital, where he was treated and then released. Olson sustained minor injuries and was not hospitalized, the BCA said.

The woman living with Nygard had left the apartment before the shooting happened and was not injured.

The BCA recovered a pistol, bullets and cartridge casings at the scene. All three officers were wearing their body cameras. The BCA is reviewing the video as part of its investigation, and the videos will be redacted and released to the public "once the case is closed and fully adjudicated."