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Charges expected Tuesday in fatal shooting of police officer, son; funeral Sunday


Flags were lowered to half-staff in Elk River Monday as the community tries to cope with the fatal shooting of a veteran officer and his son.

Todd Besser, 49, and his 27-year-old son Blake Besser were found fatally shot in a St. Michael home Saturday night, the Wright County Sheriff's Office said.

A family member turned themselves in to police later that night. A second-degree murder charge is expected to be filed against the suspect Tuesday. Wright County Attorney Tom Kelly told Crow River News he will hold a news conference Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. after the criminal complaint has been filed.

Officials are calling this a "domestic situation" but have not commented on the circumstances that led to the shooting.

'All-around good guy'

Elk River Police Chief Ron Nierenhausen said Todd Besser was an "all-around good guy and a pleasure to work with." The department called his death an "enormous shock," noting he was a "devoted member of our work community."

Besser was a 16-year veteran of the department who received several departmental awards throughout his career. For the last four years he has served as a liaison in the Elk River School District.

Todd Besser was the first officer the Elk River Police Department has lost to violence in its history, Nierenhausen says.

The veteran officer, who loved to hunt and fish, was recently married to his wife.

Those who knew Todd Besser paid tribute to the fallen officer in the days following his death. The city noted his end of watch on its website, and made grief counselors available at city hall.

Others took to social media to remember him.

Funeral set for Sunday

Funeral services for Todd and Blake Besser will be held Sunday at Elk River High School, the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association announced Monday.

The public is invited to attend the services, which begin with a visitation at the school at 11 a.m.

Following the services, there will be a procession with family, officers and community members, ending with burial services at Orono Cemetery in Elk River.

Blake Besser's burial is scheduled for May 18.

A memorial fund has also been established in Officer Besser's name at the Bank of Elk River.

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