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Charges: Photos of injured woman, blood, sledgehammer sparked Belgrade standoff

The suspect sent the photos to his ex, who reported it to authorities.
C. Shepersky - Stearns COunty Jail

An hourslong standoff started when the suspect sent his ex-wife photos of a bloodied woman, a sledgehammer next to a pool of blood, and a BB gun near bloody handprints, according to newly filed criminal charges.

Christopher A. Shepersky, 35, faces counts of second-degree assault and false imprisonment in connection with the Nov. 1 incident in Belgrade, Minnesota. Law enforcement, including SWAT teams and negotiators, swarmed the scene that morning, warning the public to stay away while they responded to the incident.

The scene unfolded on the 100 block of Washburn Avenue, at the home of a woman prosecutors say Shepersky held against her will. She suffered a serious hand injury requiring surgery, as well as bruising and lacerations. Negotiators convinced Shepersky to free her a couple of hours into the standoff, which began shortly after 10 a.m., the charges state. 

She was then taken to the hospital with non-life threatening stab wounds.

The incident ended about 8 hours later, with Shepersky coming outside and being taken into custody, according to police. 

Shepersky, from Deer Creek, Minnesota, made his first court appearance Wednesday. An omnibus hearing is scheduled for Nov. 22. He was released under numerous conditions, with the court granting his request for a public defender.

Belgrade is located about 50 miles west of St. Cloud.

According to the criminal complaint filed against Shepersky:

Shepersky's former wife called authorities around 10:10 a.m. Nov. 1, reporting either a possible assault or homicide. Shepersky, she said, claimed he had stabbed a woman, possibly fatally, and sent her multiple photos of the scene: A woman, blood on her face and eyes closed; a sledgehammer on the floor next to a pool of blood; and a pump-style BB gun near bloody streaks and footprints.

She also told law enforcement he was using methamphetamine.

Officers identified the woman in the photo and went to her home in Belgrade, where law enforcement made contact with Shepersky and began negotiating.

Shortly after noon, they convinced him to let the woman go. She was "covered in blood," and had bruising all over her arms and lacerations on her neck. She also had a severe injury to her right hand — two cut tendons — that require surgery.

At this hospital, the woman told authorities Shepersky is the boyfriend of her friend. The woman said she and Shepersky had been using meth, but around 3 or 4 a.m. he "became paranoid and delusional," believing she "turned him in" and that police were coming to get him.

What followed were hours of terror, during which she tried to escape more than once, only for Shepersky to stop her.

While in the home, Shepersky threatened her with a steak knife and bread knife, at times holding one or both up to her neck and chest. At one point they got into a struggle and fought over a knife, which is how the woman cut her hand. 

She then passed out, waking up around 6:30 a.m. to two large puddles of blood and Shepersky saying he would use her as a “human shield." After a brief period of calm, Shepersky pushed her into a different room, then entered himself holding a sledgehammer and saying it wouldn't be quick since he didn't have a gun.

Shortly after that, he let her go.

Shepersky turned himself in around 6 p.m., with officers noting minor injuries to his cheek and hand. He admitted to some of the behavior the woman had described, including blocking her from leaving, using methamphetamine and swinging a sledgehammer around. But when told he was being charged, he began screaming and said he should have forced officers to kill him.

Officers later searched the victim's home and found blood "all over the floor," walls, couches and more, two knives as the victim described, as well as the sledgehammer and BB gun included in the texted photos. 

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