More on the suspect in the fatal shooting of an Aitkin Co. sheriff's deputy


The man suspected of fatally shooting an Aitkin County Sheriff's Office investigator Sunday was being treated at St. Cloud Hospital after what appeared to be an attempt to take his own life.

Authorities say sheriff's deputy Steven Sandberg, 60, was monitoring the welfare of 50-year-old Danny Hammond Sunday morning when the suspect got out of his hospital bed and started an altercation with the deputy. The suspect gained control of Sandberg's weapon and shot him, officials say.

The shooting followed a domestic incident between Hammond and his wife. She told investigators she had an abusive relationship with her husband, and on Oct. 10, when she told him she no longer loved him and wanted a divorce, he "went into a rage," the Star Tribune reports.

He held her in their home overnight, pointed a gun at her head and forced her to eat food he said was poisoned, the Brainerd Dispatch says.

The next day, when Danny Hammond agreed to let her go, she went to her father's house, where she spoke to investigators, including Sandberg, KARE 11 says.

Danny Hammond was charged Oct. 12 with several counts in connection to the incident, including kidnapping, assault and terroristic threats, KSTP says. In 1990, he was convicted of felony terrorist threats, according to court records.

The charges came the same day investigators found Danny Hammond passed out on the floor of his home. He was in critical condition from an apparent suicide attempt and was taken to St. Cloud Hospital, reports note.

He wasn't in custody at the hospital, but he was being supervised by the sheriff's office at the request of hospital staff, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) said Sunday.

Sandberg was among the officials who took shifts monitoring Hammond. The BCA says Hammond shot Sandberg around 5:15 a.m. Sunday.

A hospital security guard used a Taser to subdue Hammond; shortly after, Hammond become unresponsive and died, despite lifesaving efforts, the BCA notes.

A candlelight vigil is planned for 5 p.m. Monday at the United Methodist Church in Aitkin. The public is invited to attend, the sheriff’s office says.

Law enforcement officials around the state and country and have expressed their condolences for their colleague who was killed in the line of duty.

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