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Minnesota roundup: Man charged in shooting, chase up to 130 mph; Minneapolis day care provider charged with hanging toddler; plus 4 more state news stories

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn.—Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Tuesday that they are investigating an officer-involved shooting incident after what an official described as an "extremely dangerous" situation where a man shot a convenience store clerk then led 30 to 40 squad cars on a chase with speeds up to 130 mph.

The 24-year-old convicted felon from Brooklyn Park has been charged on suspicion of shooting a man and then leading cops on the chase last week, authorities said Tuesday.

The Anoka County chase ended Thursday when a police officer shot the suspect, now identified as Castle Rogers Ahlbeck, 24. On Tuesday, Ahlbeck was charged with first-degree assault of an officer, second-degree assault, possession of a firearm by an ineligible person and fleeing police in a motor vehicle.

Ahlbeck was suspected in an earlier convenience store shooting Thursday, authorities in Anoka County said. His alleged victim is expected to survive, police said.

The police pursuit Thursday afternoon led to the closure of U.S. 10 in Coon Rapids and involved some 30 to 40 squad cars from several law enforcement agencies struggling to corner an Audi sport coupe at speeds of up to 130 mph over a 20-mile swath of Anoka County from East Bethel to Coon Rapids, according to police and police radio traffic posted on Police Clips.

"This was an extremely dangerous situation to both the public and to law enforcement," said County Attorney Tony Palumbo.

The BCA didn't name the officer being investigated but it's standard procedure in such a case.

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Minneapolis day care provider charged with hanging toddler

MINNEAPOLIS—A Minneapolis in-home day care provider was charged Tuesday with attempted murder for allegedly hanging a toddler from her basement ceiling last week.

Nataliia Karia, 42, was also charged with one count of assault for other injuries to the 16-month-old boy, and two counts of criminal vehicular operation for hitting a pedestrian and a bicyclist with her minivan as she drove away from the scene, according to the criminal complaint.

Karia remains hospitalized at Hennepin County Medical Center. Prosecutors plan to seek bail of $2 million.

The boy was discovered about 9:30 a.m. Friday by a man who was dropping his own child off at the day care in the 2700 block of Humboldt Avenue South in the Uptown neighborhood. Karia told the man "she couldn't take it anymore" and to "look at what she did," the charges say.

The man told police he walked to the top of the basement stairs, where he heard a baby crying.

"He went down the stairs and saw the baby hanging in the air from a noose attached to the ceiling," the charges say. "He stated the noose was wrapped around the baby's neck and the baby's face was discolored." He freed the child, and 911 was called.

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Victim IDed in Sunday St. Paul homicide

ST. PAUL — A St. Paul Park, Minn., man was identified as the victim of a homicide Sunday in St. Paul, according to police.

Thomas Joseph Rivard, 35, was found by authorities about 8 p.m. in an apartment in the 500 block of Aldine Street, St. Paul police said Tuesday. The apartment is northwest of Snelling Avenue and Interstate 94.

Rivard was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police on Monday arrested Joseph Edward Fischer, 37, of St. Paul, on suspicion of second-degree murder in connection with Rivard's death. Formal charges were pending Tuesday.

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Woman found dead in tent in northern Minnesota

CROOKSTON, Minn. — A Crookston woman who was apparently living in a tent died shortly after being found unresponsive at a site off a highway Friday night.

Erin Koplitz was discovered about 10:50 p.m. Friday north of the Highway 75 bypass bridge west of Crookston, according to a press release from the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

Koplitz was taken to Riverview Hospital in Crookston, where she was pronounced dead, the release states. She was 34.

An autopsy was performed at the University of North Dakota Medical Examiner's Office. The cause of death remains under investigation by the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

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Two Minn. deer test positive for chronic wasting disease

ST. PAUL — Two deer from this fall's hunt have tested positive for chronic wasting disease for the first time in six years, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The deer, both male, were harvested near Lanesboro, in southeastern Minnesota's Fillmore County, about one mile apart. One deer has been confirmed as CWD-positive, while the other is expected to be confirmed as positive later this week, according to the DNR.

The two are the only deer to test positive from nearly 2,500 samples collected in early November, a DNR press release said. Results of 373 additional samples are still pending.

"We were proactively looking for the disease, a proven strategy that allows us to manage CWD by finding it early, reacting quickly and aggressively to control it and hopefully eliminating its spread," said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager.

Cornicelli said it is unclear how the deer contracted the disease.

These are the first wild deer in Minnesota to test positive for CWD since fall 2010, when a deer near Pine Island tested positive.

CWD is a fatal brain disease to deer, elk and moose but is not known to affect human health. But with the muzzleloader and archery seasons stretching on into December, the DNR warned hunters to not shoot or handle any animal acting abnormally and minimize handling the brain and spinal tissue of harvested deer or elk.

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Aunt charged after gun is fired in St. Paul school

ST. PAUL—Ramsey County prosecutors have filed a gross misdemeanor child endangerment charge against a woman whose gun was fired last week inside a St. Paul elementary school classroom.

Breanna Jolene Jones, 34, is accused of creating a situation where a child was likely to be killed or badly hurt because of the child's access to a loaded gun.

According to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday:

Jones' 7-year-old nephew, who lives with her and her husband, took a .38-caliber revolver from their bedside nightstand Nov. 17, put it in his backpack and carried it onto the school bus, where he handed it to another student.

That student told police he was playing with the gun in class at Crossroads Elementary when another student asked to see it. He slid the gun under the table to the other boy, who spun the revolver's cylinder and pulled the trigger, causing it to fire.

"The boy said the bullet almost hit his foot and scared him," the complaint said.

Police said there were 27 students in the classroom at the time of the shooting. When they asked the boy why he took the gun to class, he "just shrugged," the complaint said.

Jones has a permit for the gun, police learned.

Jones was charged by summons and is due in court Dec. 16. She is not in custody.

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