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Hero Down: Red Lake DPS Officer Ryan Bialke Murdered By Gunman

Redby, MN – Red Lake Department of Public Safety (RLDPS) Officer Ryan Bialke was murdered in the line of duty on Tuesday while responding to a report of a suicidal man who possibly had children with him.

When officers arrived at the home, the gunman opened fire on them and took off running into the woods, RLDPS Director Michael Burns said in a press release later in the day.

Police located the suspect a short while later and took him into custody.

Officer Bialke, 37, was struck by the gunfire during the attack.

He was rushed to Indian Health Services Hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds, Burns said.

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the loss of one of our brave Red Lake Tribal Police Officers this morning,” Burns wrote.

The Red Lake Tribal Council released a statement Tuesday asking all tribal programs and businesses to lower flags to half-staff for the week, and closed all non-essential tribal programs for the rest of the day.

“Sincere condolences to family and friends. Prayers and strength to the Red Lake Nation during this difficult time,” the council said.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are handling the ongoing investigation into Officer Bialke’s murder, according to Burns.

Federal charges are expected to be filed sometime in the next several days, he noted.

Officer Bialke, a Buffalo, Minnesota native who was not a member of the Red Lake tribe, served the RLDPS for six years, LPTV reported.

He leaves behind his wife and four children.

His ex-wife, Andrea Bialke, said Officer Bialke “had a big heart and was always laughing and smiling,” the Star Tribune reported.

Andrea said their six-year-old daughter and 12-year-old twins had just spent the weekend with their father, and that he was “glowing” when he brought them back to her, according to the paper.

The children, she said, are “devastated.”

Officer Bialke went into law enforcement because of his desire to help others, Andrea told the Star Tribune.

“He just loved helping everybody,” she said. “If there was someone on the side of the road that needed help with their vehicle, he would stop and help. He was just that kind of guy…He wanted the best for everybody.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Red Lake Department of Public Safety Officer Ryan Bialke, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Officer Ryan Bialke, your life mattered.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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