A Twin Cities area man, bloodied from one home invasion in far northern Minnesota, was fatally shot at a second home after gaining entry and assaulting the elderly homeowner, authorities said Monday.
Benjamin Beaudoin, 34, of Mendota Heights attacked the 72-year-old woman who owned the home near Ray, Minn., and was shot by her son, according to the Koochiching County Sheriff's Office.
"I'm the son who did what had to be done," said Brad Himes, 48, who came to the rescue of his mother, Ethel.
Brad Himes said the family had never before seen Beaudoin, who was in that part of the state to attend a wedding.
The son said his mother came through the incident fine physically, and "we're doing the best we can to get by. … Bad things happen. We just want to get over it."
In a posting on the Facebook page of Beaudoin's sister, Brea Jennings, the family said that "in recent years Ben struggled with a type of mental illness that was never positively identified but that involved severe migraines and their powerful side effects."
The posting said Beaudoin suffered a "traumatic brain injury as a teen" that combined with his alcoholism to "contribute in some ways" to his recent difficulties. On the morning of the home invasions, the family continued, "Ben had an episode that took over his mind and body. Under extreme paranoia … he entered the homes of two strangers, assaulted one of them, and was shot in self-defense."
County Attorney Jeff Naglosky declined to comment on the incident as he awaits reports from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the St. Louis County medical examiner's office.
Friend cites 12-year sobriety
Beaudoin was in International Falls for a reception over the weekend with his girlfriend, said Thomas Stein, who described himself as a "very, very close" friend of Beaudoin's for the past 10 years.
Stein, of Buffalo, Minn., said he was puzzled about the allegations against his friend and said Beaudoin's migraines had been bothering him in recent weeks.
Also, Stein said, Beaudoin was a recovering alcoholic who "just got a 12-year medallion last week. He was proud of his sobriety."
According to the Sheriff's Office:
Beaudoin broke a door lock and entered a home about 5:20 a.m. in the 4200 block of Hwy. 53. Homeowner Neil Reller grabbed a shotgun and struggled with Beaudoin, striking the intruder on the head several times with the gun so hard that the stock broke off the weapon.
Beaudoin, his face covered in blood, fled in his vehicle about 8 miles to the southeast and showed up at the Himes' home in the 5700 block of Hwy. 53. He told Ethel Himes that he had been assaulted. When Himes let Beaudoin inside, he threw her onto the living-room floor, choked her and beat her head on the floor.
Brad Himes came upon the struggle and went to his bedroom for a handgun. Beaudoin followed the son and lunged at him, prompting Brad Himes to shoot the intruder.
A sheriff's deputy gave first aid to Beaudoin, who died at Rainy Lake Medical Center.
Has degree from Bemidji
Other than a few traffic violations, Beaudoin has only a minor alcohol-related offense in Minnesota, court records show.
He graduated from Princeton High School, then received an undergraduate degree in psychology from Bemidji State University, according to his funeral-home obituary. Beaudoin family members, in the Facebook statement, noted that "those in the homes are physically OK and we ask you to keep them in your hearts and prayers in the days ahead."