Charges: Son says he 'lost it,' fatally shot Elk River officer and brother


The son of a veteran Elk River police officer said he "just snapped" when he fatally shot his father and older brother over the weekend, charges filed against him claim.

Christopher T. Besser, 21, was charged early Tuesday with two counts of intentional second-degree murder in the deaths of Todd Besser, 49, and Blake Besser, 27, who were found in the Besser brothers' St. Michael home Saturday. He is being held on bond in the Wright County jail.

Wright County District Attorney Tom Kelly said at a news conference Tuesday morning he will ask a grand jury to consider first-degree murder charges against Christopher Besser. This will likely happen in June.

Christopher Besser was arrested Saturday night in nearby Monticello about an hour after the two were killed, the sheriff's office said.

He called police to turn himself in, saying "I ended up killing my father and brother. ... I just lost it," the criminal complaint says. He later told investigators he was "processing events and issues from the past" when "he just snapped" and grabbed a firearm from the gun cabinet.

Christopher Besser told investigators he was fed up with his father, who "expected things of him."

Events leading up to the shooting were detailed in the criminal complaint:

Todd Besser arrived at the St. Michael home after his work shift, around 6:30 p.m., and got into a confrontation with his youngest son in the garage prior to Christopher Besser grabbing the rifle from the gun cabinet.

Christopher Besser then went to the basement where his father was working on a computer and shot him in the back of the head from not more than 4 feet away.

Then he went upstairs and waited for his brother in the kitchen. When Blake Besser walked into the room, he shot him in the upper abdomen, telling investigators he didn't want to leave a witness.

Before leaving the home, Christopher Besser wiped his fingerprints from the gun, and walked past his dying brother who was calling police. That call was placed at 7:06 p.m.

During the call to police, Blake Besser dropped the phone and "appears from sounds captured during the call to be in the process of actively dying."

By the time first responders got to the home, Blake Besser was dead.

Christopher Besser called police around 7:45 p.m. to turn himself in.

Christopher and Blake Besser lived in the St. Michael home with their other brother, Derrick Besser, 24, who is serving time in the military and wasn't home at the time of the fatal shooting. Todd Besser was living in Otsego with his wife, whom he had recently married.

Held on $2M bond

Christopher Besser made his first court appearance Tuesday in front of dozens of family members and friends, some of them in tears.

The judge ordered his bail be set at $5 million without conditions, or $2 million with conditions, including no use or possession of alcohol or controlled substance and alcohol monitoring. His next court appearance is May 22 at 1 p.m.

Following the court hearing, Todd Besser's wife spoke briefly to reporters. She asked for prayers and forgiveness, FOX 9 says.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, Wright County District Attorney Tom Kelly called the shooting a "tragedy," noting Christopher Besser had been drinking before shooting his father and brother.

Officials at the news conference also said they had been called to the St. Michael home a few times before, for a medical situation and "suicide attempt."

They would not comment on who was involved with these incidents.

Funeral services set

The public is invited to attend the funeral services for Todd and Blake Besser, which will be held Sunday at Elk River High School, the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association announced Monday.

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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