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NORTH BRAINERD SHOOTINGS: Residents hunker down as police search for suspect

Two people were shot in the head at a north Brainerd residence Sunday night and law enforcement officers searched for two suspects they consider armed and dangerous.

Two people were shot in the head at a north Brainerd residence Sunday night and law enforcement officers searched for two suspects they consider armed and dangerous.

Shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday law enforcement responded to a report of a shooting at an apartment in the 800 block of Juniper Street, in Brainerd after a 911 caller reported two people had been shot there.

Brainerd Police Chief Corky McQuiston stated the Initial responding officers found a 31-year-old female who resided in the apartment and a 31-year-old male both suffering from apparent gunshot wounds to the head. Both were taken by ambulance to Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd and were transferred to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale. As of Sunday night the victims' condition was not known.

"The female victim was conscious and talking, the male victim was unconscious," the Brainerd Police Department reported. "At this time, police are looking for two male parties believed to be involved."

The two suspects were identified as 23-year-old Tyler Allan Cronquist and 26-year-old Nathan David Becker, both of the Brainerd area. Cronquist is described as white male, 5 foot 9 inches tall, 200 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes. Becker is described as white male, 5 foot 6 inches tall, 170 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

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Becker and Cronquist should be considered armed and dangerous and anyone seeing them should call 911, the Brainerd Police Department reported.

Brainerd Police Department officers, Crow Wing County Sheriff's deputies and members of the county's tactical team were involved in the search for the suspects.

Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl said he was informed of the shooting and the tactical team was called out along with all the deputies on the night shift. In addition, other deputies were called in to cover the road patrols. Deputies were assisting in the search for the shooting suspects. Law enforcement officers were working to establish a perimeter.

About 6:05 p.m., Bob and Kim Perkins of Crosslake observed several law enforcement vehicles parked at Juniper and North Ninth streets near St. Francis Catholic Church.

A sheriff's deputy, who was armed with a rifle, approached their vehicle, shined his flashlight in the back seat and asked if they were from the area. The deputy said there was an active suspect search in the area and he could not provide any more information. He asked the Perkins to leave. As they proceeded down North 10th Street, flashing lights were visible on North Ninth Street as far as Fir Street. Near the intersection of Evergreen and Northeast First avenues, a law enforcement vehicle was parked with spotlights shining south into the field and into every passing vehicle. Later, officers with flashlights could be seen at Evergreen Cemetery.

Residents in north Brainerd hunkered down Sunday night as law enforcement officers continued to search for the two suspects in the shooting.

Krista Rolfzen Soukup, a Bluff Avenue resident, first noticed squad cars in the north Brainerd neighborhood by the Mississippi River about 6:15 p.m. A neighbor had a police scanner and advised her to stay inside and lock her house.

"At first seeing law enforcement we were concerned and curious so I posted on Facebook if anyone knew what was going on," Soukup said. "When my kids and I started to get more info and then saw the SWAT team, I have to say it was pretty alarming. Still is."

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From their upstairs window they watched the tactical team and a K-9 officer enter their neighbors' empty house two doors down.

Just after 9:30 p.m. Soukup said a police officer was still in front of her house.

"We are just waiting in the dark hoping to get an all clear soon," she said.

People were reported to be hunkered down behind locked doors in the Franklin Arts Center, which has events along with apartments for resident artists, before hearing from a couple of officers the building was clear.

Brainerd Police Department officers, Crow Wing County Sheriff's deputies and members of the tactical team were involved in the search for the suspects.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting the Brainerd Police Department with this case along with the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department, Baxter Police Department and Minnesota State Patrol.

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call the Brainerd Police Department at 218-829-2805.

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Police have arrested both suspects believed to be involved in the shooting of a woman and a man Sunday night at a house on the 800 block of Juniper Street. Read more on BrainerdDispatch.com -  Click Here .
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