The man who led authorities on a violent crime spree in Cottage Grove on Monday morning died by suicide rather than police gunfire, authorities said Tuesday night.
An autopsy by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office determined that Noah Erickson, 34, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Police tracked Erickson, of White Bear Lake, through several east metro communities before confronting him outside a home in Cottage Grove.
Two law enforcement officers fired their weapons at Erickson shortly after 9 a.m. — and initially believed that he died by their gunshots. Those officers were identified Tuesday evening by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) as Cottage Grove Police Capt. Gwen Martin, an 18-year veteran of the force, and Woodbury Sgt. Omar Maklad, a 16-year veteran.
According to police and emergency dispatch audio:
Erickson kidnapped a young woman at gunpoint outside her work at the Ramsey County Care Center, a senior nursing home in Maplewood around 6 a.m., and forced her to drive them back to her apartment, where he sexually assaulted her roommate.
He left them tied up inside the St. Paul home and fled in the kidnap victim’s car. Soon after, Erickson abandoned the vehicle in the Hidden Valley Neighborhood in Cottage Grove, before carjacking another man at gunpoint.
He left that vehicle a few blocks away and fled on foot. An officer saw Erickson break into a home.
He held the residents hostage for a few minutes before fleeing in the family’s pickup truck. He maneuvered around police squad cars and barriers, but soon crashed into a tree. Officers confronted him as he tried to leave the vehicle and run, while still armed.
Erickson exchanged a volley of shots with police before turning the gun on himself, according to the BCA.
Portions of the incident were captured on body cameras, dash cameras and surveillance cameras. Investigators later recovered a gun from near his body.
The BCA is investigating the shooting, while Maplewood and St. Paul police departments are taking the lead on the string of crimes preceding his death.