2 dead following Big Lake shooting, police chase

I-94 near St. Cloud was shut down for several hours after a Big Lake man killed his girlfriend's son and then himself.

Racing down Interstate 94 near St. Cloud in the early morning hours, his injured girlfriend held hostage in the car, Peter Tek made a final phone call.

He told his ex-wife that he had killed his girlfriend’s son and implied to his son, Phath Bauer, that he was going to kill himself. “Boy, boy, I’m very sorry,” he said to his son. “I won’t be there to see you and your sister grow up, and for that I’m very sorry.”

Less than two hours later, still sitting in the Lincoln Navigator parked alongside the barricaded freeway, Tek released his girlfriend, shot himself in the head and died.

Authorities said that Tek killed Savang Sath, 27, at the family’s home at 1010 Eagle Lake Rd. in Big Lake. He shot himself near where Stearns County Rd. 6 crosses I-94 at about
5:40 a.m.

A 2-mile stretch of the freeway near the standoff scene was closed and traffic detoured for about two hours, police reported.

His girlfriend suffered head injuries and is hospitalized, but is expected to recover, police said. According to Tek’s brother, Cheth Tek, Peter Tek was divorced and had been living with his girlfriend and her son for four years in Big Lake.

Big Lake police chief Sean Rifenberick said there had been previous domestic violence calls to the house, but he was not sure whether they involved Peter Tek. Rifenberick said there had been a social services complaint involving children being removed from the home but said he did not know the details.

According to Cheth Tek, Peter Tek and his girlfriend attended a party and got home at about 2 a.m. on Saturday. Authorities said there was an argument between Tek and two adult females at the residence around 2:45 a.m. An argument ensued between Tek and Sath and Tek shot Sath twice. He held two females in the house hostage for 20 minutes, then left with Sath’s mother.

Police were called at 3:08 a.m.; deputies found Sath’s body and were told Tek was in a Lincoln Navigator.

At 3:22 a.m., Wright County deputies spotted him pumping gas at a Holiday station in Monticello. When he saw the deputies approach, he got into the Lincoln, and headed toward I-94 in Monticello with the deputies chasing him.

Phath said he didn’t realize until after the cell phone call that his father was indicating that he planned to kill himself. “He expressed his love for me, my sister and my mom. I told him, 'I love you, too, dad.’”

Phath said that his father told his mother that the incident began with an argument between his father and girlfriend, there was a physical confrontation, and then his girlfriend’s son began to beat him. Phath said he did not know where the gun came from but did not believe it was his father’s because his father didn’t like guns and despised hunting.

Nonetheless, Phath said his father told his mother that he pointed the gun at Sath and shot him. He said he told his mother, “I didn’t know it was loaded.”

Besides Phath, Peter is survived by a 15-year-old daughter and his parents.

Cheth Tek said that the Tek family had come from Cambodia in the early 1980s.

Peter Tek’s parents and Cheth live in Savage. “My mom cried,” Cheth Tek said. He said that his older brother had gone through war that engulfed Cambodia in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s before they fled to Thailand in 1976 and lived in a refugee camp. He had visited Cambodia a month ago on a church mission, according to Cheth.

Peter Tek was a press operator who had worked for 20 years at Vertis Communications in Shakopee, a printing company, according to a co-worker who asked not to be identified because he did not know whether he was authorized by the company to speak. Tek had been on vacation and was expected to return next week.

“He was a really good guy,” the co-worker said. “Everybody liked him.”

asimons@startribune.com 612-673-4921
rfurst@startribune.com 612-673-7382
 

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