The suspect who shot and killed Aitkin County Sheriff's Investigator Steven Sandberg Sunday at St. Cloud Hospital was being treated after he attempted suicide a week before, the Aitkin County Sheriff's Office reported Monday.
Danny Leroy Hammond, 50, was found unresponsive in his rural Aitkin home Monday, Oct. 12, after law enforcement officials were searching for him as a suspect in a domestic-related situation reported the previous day.
Hammond was transported to St. Cloud via air ambulance, where he was in critical condition. That day, the Aitkin County Attorney's Office filed a criminal complaint against Hammond in the domestic situation. The 11 charges include seven felonies for kidnapping, two counts of felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of felon in possession of ammunition, second-degree assault and terroristic threats. Hammond also was charged with two gross misdemeanors related to possession of firearms and ammunition while subject to an order for protection and two misdemeanor domestic assault charges.
According to the complaint, Hammond threatened to kill himself when his wife told him she wanted a divorce. He allegedly proceeded to lock all the doors and remove all the handles from windows in the home to prevent her from leaving.
Hammond "took out his loaded 9 mm pistol and stated he and (his wife) were together until 'death do we part,' which (his wife) felt meant he was willing to kill both her and himself," the complaint states.
Hammond's wife said he forced her to eat food he said contained rat poisoning, and when she tried to escape, he caught her outside and dragged her back into the house by her hair. The next morning, Hammond allowed her to go to her father's house, where law enforcement was contacted.
Two sheriff's deputies, along with Sandberg, went to her father's residence where they found Hammond's wife with abrasions on her knees, a swollen foot and other injuries. Hammond's wife told law enforcement toward the end of the night, Hammond forced her to lay down in bed with him as he "played" with his pistol and pointed the pistol at her and at himself. His wife stated while Hammond was gesturing with his hand, the pistol went off and a bullet struck the bedroom television, after which he told her he wished she had been in front of the television.
An alert was issued to area law enforcement when officials were unable to locate Hammond.
Deputies went to Hammond's residence, where they observed a television in the bed of a pickup inside the garage, which had a bullet hole through the front. They also located a hair barrette lying on the sidewalk leading from the garage to the back door of the residence.
lnside the residence, deputies located two air rifles leaning against a wall in the spare bedroom, a nylon holster for a 9 mm in the living room, a .22 revolver, three prescription bottles containing 9 mm rounds, one prescription bottle containing .22 rounds, a knife in a bag and two sets of handcuffs with a key.
Hammond's wife told investigators they'd been married for 12 years and together for 25 years, during which he'd been abusive the entire time.
Hammond was located and transported to St. Cloud. His condition began to improve Thursday, the news release states, and Sandberg went to the hospital to monitor the suspect.
About 5:15 a.m. Sunday, Hammond got out of his hospital bed and engaged in an altercation with Sandberg, during which Hammond gained control of Sandberg's gun and shot him, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension reports. A hospital security guard entered the room and used a Taser to subdue Hammond, shortly after which Hammond experienced a medical emergency. Both Sandberg and Hammond were taken to the hospital's emergency trauma center where lifesaving efforts were not successful.
Investigator Sandberg and Hammond were taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office for autopsy.
The incident was confined to Hammond's hospital room. No hospital patients or personnel were injured, the BCA reported.
Sandberg was with the Aitkin County Sheriff's Office for 24 years, including the past 20 years as an investigator.
Hammond's criminal history in Aitkin County, according to state court records, include convictions for felony third-degree burglary in 1989, and felony terroristic threats and felony escape from custody in 1990.
For the felony third-degree burglary conviction, Hammond was sentenced to 18 months in prison. For the felony terroristic threats conviction, Hammond was sentenced to 21 months in prison. In that case, six counts of felony criminal sexual conduct were dismissed. For his felony escape from custody conviction, Hammond was sentenced to one year in prison.