Authorities say they now know who fatally shot a teenage boy on a Native American reservation near Duluth early this week, and the suspect remains on the run Thursday with his mother.
The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office was initially seeking three suspects in the death of 16-year-old Joseph J. Peterson, who was shot in the head early Monday and left in the back seat of a pickup truck on the Fond du Lac Reservation.
The County Attorney's Office on Tuesday charged 18-year-old Joseph J. Fohrenkam with second-degree manslaughter based in part on witnesses who say he was waving a gun around inside a crowded pickup when it went off and shot his friend, a fellow reservation resident, in the eye.
Fohrenkam is "believed to be accompanied by his mother," Littlefawn Fohrenkam, 38, a Sheriff's Office statement read.
A third suspect, 25-year-old Trae D. Shabaiash, was located and gave investigators an account of what happened in the pickup when the teen was shot.
Shabaiash said he was in the back seat and Fohrenkam was in the driver's seat outside the suspect's home on Giiniw Road. People were drinking a "significant amount" of alcohol and talking, the criminal complaint read.
Fohrenkam was "waving the pistol around and showing it off," the complaint continued, before aiming it at Peterson in the back seat.
As Fohrenkam was "pulling the pistol back, [he] may have hit his arm on the center console, causing the pistol to discharge," the charging document read.
Shabaiash described Fohrenkam and the fatally wounded teen as close friends.
Two others at the scene of the shooting gave similar accounts to law enforcement.
Authorities want anyone with information about the whereabouts of the Fohrenkams to call the Sheriff's Office at 911 within the county or 218-625-3581 from elsewhere.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482