Police: Minn. officer killed in early-morning ambush; 1 suspect dead, 1 arrested after manhunt

By Jeff Baenen, AP
Saturday, May 1, 2010

Minn. officer killed in ambush, sets off manhunt

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A suburban St. Paul police officer was killed during an ambush Saturday morning, setting off a massive manhunt that ended with one suspect dead and another in custody, authorities said.

Maplewood Police Sgt. Joseph Bergeron, 49, was fatally shot while responding to a reported carjacking. A jogger on a nearby trail heard the shot that killed Bergeron, a married father of two and a 26-year police veteran, and turned back around to see two suspects fleeing, police said.

The jogger used the officer’s radio to call for help, and the carjacking victim warned police that at least one of the suspects was armed.

“We’re all grieving,” Maplewood Police Chief David Thomalla said. “He’s one of the finest people I know, and he was murdered today senselessly.”

The attack set off an hours-long search by more than 100 officers from over a dozen law enforcement agencies. Officers brandished automatic rifles and police helicopters circled overhead as they searched a wooded area and neighborhoods east of Lake Phalen, near the shooting scene.

Nearly four hours after the shooting, a man darted out of the woods holding a toolbox and an officer tried to question him. The two scuffled, and authorities said the officer shot the man multiple times. Police identified the man as Jason John Jones, 21, of St. Paul, and said he was one of the shooting suspects.

The officer suffered a broken nose and possibly a fractured eye socket, St. Paul police chief John Harrington said. The officer’s name hasn’t been released, which Harrington said is standard in an officer-involved shooting.

About two hours later, police closed in on the second suspect — Joshua Michael Martin, 21, of Saint Paul — at a nearby apartment near the border of St. Paul and Maplewood, in a neighborhood dotted with small storefronts and well-established older homes.

Martin threatened and tried to commit suicide, but was taken into custody with non-life threatening injuries, authorities said. He was booked into jail on the probable cause charge of murder.

Bergeron was the 17th officer to die in the line of duty in the state since 2000, according to the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association.

He leaves behind a wife and two daughters.

In a statement late Saturday, his family said Bergeron was a private, hardworking citizen whose “first job was being an excellent dad, husband, brother and friend to many.” The family thanked the jogger who called for help and law enforcement officers who responded.

“We will miss him. We will miss him terribly,” Thomalla said.

Associated Press Writer Colin Fly in Milwaukee contributed to this report.

will not be displayed