Highway Patrol soldier on leave after fatal Morton County shooting | New

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Major Tom Iverson of the North Dakota Highway Patrol, right, answers questions at a press conference Wednesday in Bismarck about a fatal shooting of a suspect by a state soldier Tuesday night in the west by Mandan. Next to Iverson is Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier.


MIKE MCCLEARY, TRIBUNE


A North Dakota Highway Patrol soldier is on administrative leave pending an investigation into a September 7 shooting that killed a Montana man.

Craig Knutson, 45, of Billings, MT, was shot once by Private Steven Mayer after a chase in Morton County, Major Tom Iverson said on September 8. Knutson was alone in the vehicle, which Iverson described as a pickup truck. He died at the scene.

Morton County MPs answered a call from a reckless driver on the freeway around 7:43 p.m. on September 7, Iverson said.

MPs attempted a traffic stop, but Knutson continued east at freeway speed, then slowed when a MP east of the chase deflated the front left tire of the pickup truck with a tape spiked.

Mayer used his vehicle to force Knutson’s vehicle to turn and stop on the freeway about 13 miles west of Mandan. The soldier parked in front of the van to prevent it from moving, Iverson said.

Mayer gave Knutson “several strong verbal orders to put up his hands” and told MPs that Knutson had a gun, the major said. A revolver was found in the vehicle, according to the patrol.

Details of what led Mayer to shoot Knutson were not immediately disclosed.

It is not known why Knutson did not stop, if he was in the vehicle when he was shot, or if the soldier saw the gun in his hand or somewhere in the vehicle.


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