BUFFALO, Minn. (AP) — The son of an Elk River police officer who is charged with fatally shooting his father and brother told a dispatcher he “just lost it” and killed the two, according to a criminal complaint filed in Wright County.
Christopher T. Besser, 21, of St. Michael, told authorities he was fed up with his father’s expectations of him, the complaint said, without being specific.
Besser called 911 Saturday from a Kwik Trip in Monticello and told the dispatcher about the shooting, prosecutors said. Besser was arrested at the Kwik Trip less than an hour after Todd Besser, 49, and Blake Besser, 27, were killed at the St. Michael home.
Christopher Besser said he killed his brother, Blake, because he didn’t want to leave a witness to his father’s death, the complaint said.
Besser was charged with two counts of second-degree murder. Wright County Attorney Tom Kelly said he plans call a grand jury to seek first-degree murder charges.
Todd Besser’s wife, Gwen Besser, sat in the courtroom with about a dozen other family members as Christopher Besser was led in. Afterward, she told the news media, “All I am asking for is prayer, healing, grace and forgiveness.”
Bail for Besser was set Tuesday at $2 million with some conditions, including electronic home monitoring and $5 million without conditions. A phone message seeking comment on his behalf from Besser’s public defender was not immediately returned Tuesday.
Prosecutors said there was a confrontation between Besser and his father in the garage of the home and that Besser followed his father inside. Besser told investigators he snapped, grabbed a rifle and three rounds of ammunition from a gun cabinet and shot his father in the basement at close range, the complaint said. Then he went upstairs to the kitchen and shot his older brother, who was able to call 911 before he died, authorities said.
Todd Besser was a 16-year veteran of the Elk River Police Department and had served as a liaison officer in the city’s public schools. He grew up in Hermantown, Minnesota.
A funeral service for Todd and Blake Besser will be held Sunday at Elk River High School.
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