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'A complete shock': Burnsville priest identified as bicyclist killed in Rosemount

The church says he was doing what he loved: riding his bike.

A priest at a church in Burnsville was killed by a driver who hit him as he rode his bike in Rosemount Monday afternoon.

Father Denny Dempsey, 73, of the Church of the Risen Savior was the bicyclist who was killed on County Road 42 near West 145th Street, the church shared on Tuesday

"We know this comes as a complete shock and all join together in prayer for Father Denny, his family and for our Risen Savior parish," the church said in a Facebook post, adding: "We are all significantly affected by this sudden loss. We will live our faith, knowing God will provide. We will continue on the path forward that Father Denny set and rally as one Risen Savior community."

Dempsey was "enjoying one of his favorite activities" when he was killed, the church's website says. Church trustee Dave Hutton told KSTP Dempsey often took 40- to 50-mile bike rides and was outside getting some exercise when he was hit and killed. 

Dempsey was a Roman Catholic priest for 41 years, serving as a parish priest in St. Paul, Northfield, and at Risen Savior. He was also a missionary priest in Venezuela for seven years, the church said. 

"Father Denny lived his life as the hands and feet of Christ and shared his love with for every person he met, treating each as a child of God, especially the marginalized. He was a true unifier for our Anglo and Latino communities and will be greatly missed," the church said. 

Dempsey had only recently joined the parish at Risen Savior, with a welcome gathering scheduled for him this weekend. That event will now be a remembrance event for the priest. 

Meanwhile, a funeral mass is scheduled at the church Saturday morning, with Archbishop Bernard Hebda presiding. A vigil service and visitation are also scheduled for the Church of St. Dominic in Northfield this weekend, where Dempsey was the priest for 15 years.

"How blessed we have been to know him and receive his pastoral care," the Church of St. Dominic said, noting the news of Dempsey's death will "be devastating to the many who know and so loved him."

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According to police, the crash happened at 3:23 p.m. Monday, with officers arriving at the scene to find Dempsey had been hit. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The driver was taken into custody for questioning. And jail records show a 26-year-old Minneapolis man has been arrested and booked into jail in connection to the crash. He's being held on probable cause criminal vehicular homicide, with his first court appearance scheduled for noon Wednesday. 

It doesn't appear he has been formally charged. Bring Me The News does not typically name people until charges have been filed. 

No other details about the crash have been released. 

Note: Some of the details provided in this story are based on the police’s latest version of events, and may be subject to change.

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