Suspect in northern MN kidnaps woman, leads police on 60-mile chase before shooting himself

The incident started in International Falls and ended in Orr.

The suspect in a kidnapping and police chase from International Falls to Orr shot himself in the head Tuesday evening, ending the hours-long incident that spanned 60 miles.

According to the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office news release, police in International Falls received a report that a woman was forced into a white van by a man whom she'd previously had a relationship with just after 5 p.m. Tuesday on the 1400 block of Highway 11-71. 

This kicked off a response from law enforcement from across the region who began searching for the vehicle. 

Around 8:30 p.m., the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office spotted the suspect's van heading south on Highway 53 near Kabetogema Lake, and a pursuit began that reached speeds of 80 mph, the release said. 

During the pursuit, deputies used stop sticks that damaged the van's wheels, but the suspect continued. Eventually, the suspect pulled into a parking lot of a motel on the 4400 block of Highway 53 in Orr. 

"The suspect waved a gun outside of the van window as he drove. Law enforcement used several vehicles to attempt to stop the van. Eventually, the vehicle stopped and officers surrounded the van," the news release says.

At that point, the victim got out of the passenger's side of the van and ran to a wooded area, where law enforcement located her "a short time later," the release states. She was taken to the hospital to be evaluated. Her condition was not released.

Around the same time as the victim fled, police heard a gunshot from inside the van. 

"Officers observed the suspect with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head," the release says. The man was flown to a hospital in Duluth to be treated for life-threatening injuries. His condition was not released. 

There was a handgun inside the van, officials said. No officers fired their weapons and no officers were injured during the incident. 

The pursuit ended just after 9 p.m., International Falls Police Chief Rich Mastin told BMTN, but the investigation at the scene continued "for some time."

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The International Falls Police Department is leading the investigation and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will process the scene in Orr. 

The other law enforcement agencies that assisted in the pursuit include the Koochiching and St. Louis County sheriff's offices, Minnesota State Patrol, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Paul Bunyan Violent Crime Enforcement Team, the Headwaters Safe Trails FBI Task Force and the Lake Superior Drug Task Force.

No other details about the incident have been released. BMTN has reached out to the International Falls PD for further information.

Note: 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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