La Crescent, Minnesota – Police released video of an officer walking up to a car during a traffic stop and the driver opening fire with a shotgun, narrowly missing the policeman before speeding off in a July 31 incident. (Video below)
La Crescent Police Officer Ryan Quanrud and another office saw two men acting suspiciously at a convenience store and pulled their car over after they left the store, according to WXOW TV.
When Officer Quanrud approached the car, Wyatt Helfrich fired one shot from a shotgun towards the officer. Officer Quanrud was startled but moved back and then opened fire on the car.
Officer Christopher Frick had just showed up on scene, and helped pursue the suspects in a chase where speeds reached nearly 100 miles an hour.
The suspects then began firing at the officers during the pursuit.
Eventually, Helfrich and passenger William Wallraf had their vehicle’s tires punctured and the car went off the road. The two men then ran into a nearby cornfield with their weapons but were soon located and taken into custody.
Helfrich and Wallraf are in jail and face attempted first degree murder and assault charges.
“We just want the public to realize how incredibly close we came to losing at least one of our police officers that night,” Houston County Sheriff Mark Inglett told WXOW TV.
“We live in a low crime area, but that doesn’t mean these things can’t happen and it is exactly why we train as hard as we do for these kinds of situations.”
La Crescent Police Chief Doug Stavenua applauded his officers’ ability to sense something was wrong.
“Given the dynamic situation, first of all the ability to recognize something was wrong with the entire situation is admirable,” Chief Stavenau said. “It prompted a traffic stop and from there it was kind of an ambush situation because the officers did not anticipate a firearm being discharged at them.”
See the driver take shot at the officer with a shotgun in the video below: