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Men fatally shot in incident with police in Wadena County were brothers

The BCA also released the names of the two officers who discharged their firearms.

The two men killed in an officer-involved shooting in Wadena County on Saturday have been identified.

Brothers David Jay Savela, 42, and Shannon Michael Savela, 36, died of multiple gunshot wounds after gunfire was exchanged between them and officers at a traffic stop in North Germany Township.

Deputy Troy Mayer of the Wadena County Sheriff’s Office and Officer Jason Worm of the Sebeka Police Department both discharged their firearms. Mayer also sustained a non-life threatening gunshot wound during the incident.

What the BCA says happened

According to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Mayer attempted to pull over David Savela for speeding at 205th Avenue and 280th Avenue at around 8:48 p.m. Saturday. David Savela did not stop, and a brief pursuit followed before his vehicle got stuck in the snow near 205th and 270th Avenues.

David Savela refused to exit the vehicle and would not identify himself. At that time, Shannon Savela arrived at the scene.

Mayer deployed his taser on David Savela, but it the BCA says it was ineffective and a struggle ensued between the two. Worm then arrived at the scene and aided Mayer in taking David Savela into custody.

According to the BCA report, Shannon Savela then moved to the passenger seat of Mayer’s squad car and began shooting, striking Mayer and Worm. The two officers moved to the passenger side of David Savela’s car, where David Savela pointed a gun at the officers. Worm then fired his handgun and struck David Savela. 

Worm moved to Mayer’s squad car where Shannon Savela was. Shannon Savela then reportedly pointed his gun at Worm, and Worm fired at Shannon Savela, striking him.

David Sevela died at the scene. Shannon Savela was taken to Tri-County Health Care in Wadena, where he later died. Mayer was taken to St. Joseph Health in Park Rapids and then transferred to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale for a non-life threatening gunshot wound. He was released Sunday.

Parts of the incident were recorded on dash cameras and body cameras. The BCA is currently investigating the incident and will present its findings to the Wadena County Attorney’s Office for review.

David and Shannon Savela’s deaths marked the third and fourth fatal police shootings in the course of around a week, with fatal shootings in Isanti County on Feb. 21 and in Duluth on Friday.

Note: 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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