The officers who exchanged gunfire with two suspects during a high-speed pursuit in Houston County on Monday have been identified by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
La Crescent, Minn., police officers Ryan Quanrud and Christopher Frick, who have been with the department for five and six years, respectively, are on administrative leave, which is standard practice in such cases, the BCA said.
The suspects involved in the chase were identified as 19-year-old Wyatt Robert Helfrich, of La Crosse, Wis., and 19-year-old William Gerald Wallraff, of Holmen, Wis. Both are in custody and have been charged with seven felony counts, including attempted first-degree murder of an officer, first-degree assault and fleeing a police officer, the BCA said.
According to a news release, around 1:30 a.m. officers saw Helfrich “behaving suspiciously” at a Kwik Trip in the 300 block of S. 3rd Street in La Crescent.
When the two suspects left the gas station, the officers “observed the vehicle speeding” and pulled the vehicle over near Hwys. 26 and 16.
According to the BCA’s preliminary investigation, as Quanrud approached the vehicle, Helfrich began firing at him. “The officers returned fire and then ran back to their vehicles,” the BCA said.
The suspects shot rounds at police as the pursuit continued until they crashed in a field on Hwy. 44 and Carpenter Road, near Caledonia, Minn.
“Wallraff and Helfrich exited the vehicle with their weapons and ran into a nearby cornfield, but surrendered within minutes,” the BCA said.
The La Crescent Police Department does not have body cameras, but squad car cameras captured video of the shooting incident, the BCA said.
The BCA will turn its findings over to the Winona County attorney’s office for review when its investigation is complete.