INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minn. — A northern Minnesota man died after authorities say he refused to leave a burning convenience store that they believe he entered illegally.
The Koochiching County Sheriff's Office said Thursday that authorities responded to a report of a break-in late Wednesday at the Y Knot Quick Stop gas station at Pelland Junction, southwest of International Falls. Sheriff's officials say Colton Tammi, 26, of International Falls, was inside and allegedly told dispatchers by phone that he would shoot responding officers.
Authorities say the store began burning after deputies surrounded it.
Sheriff Perryn Hedlund told WDIO-TV (http://bit.ly/1P4cUJu ) that firefighters could not enter due to the threat of gunfire.
"At that point we couldn't guarantee the safety of our guys or the safety of (the firefighters), so there was no way they were going to go in to try to fight a fire with a possible gunman in the building," Hedlund said.
The fire was put out and Tammi's body was found inside. His cause of death and the cause of the fire are being investigated.
Hedlund says there are many unanswered questions.
"What led up to last night? What led up to this event? What caused him to pick this gas station? Hedlund said. "It was such an evolving situation. We still have a lot of follow-up investigating to do."
Hedlund said authorities are analyzing calls between Tammi and dispatchers.
Neighbors told WDIO that the gas station is a local hub, and one of the only places in the area to purchase gas and buy essentials.