CLEARBROOK, Minn. - A Polk County Sheriff’s deputy suffered injuries from breaking glass when a man fired at a helicopter the deputy was riding in Monday morning.

Charges are pending against Carstie Lee Clausen of Clearbrook, who reportedly shot twice at the helicopter with a high-powered rifle.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

The deputy was not identified in a news release from the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office, but the release did note the officer was treated and released from Essentia Hospital in nearby Fosston, Minn.

The shots were fired at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter about 10 a.m. while it flew over an area in rural Clearwater County where suspected drug activity was thought to be occurring, the release said. The Polk County deputy was along in the helicopter as an observer for Pine to Prairie Drug Task Force and sustained injuries when one of the rifle rounds shattered a nearby window.

The aircraft made an emergency landing at the Fosston Municipal Airport.

Clearwater County deputies responded to the area, located just east of the Polk-Clearwater county line, and surrounded a small cabin and located Clausen, 71, hiding in the woods near the cabin. Clausen was taken into custody without further incident, the release said.

Clearwater County property records show Clausen does own land about 16 miles northwest of Bagley.  

Apart from a speeding ticket, Clausen appears to have no criminal history in Minnesota. He was behind a 1975 effort to organize a militia in Eddy Township in Clearwater County, according to an Associated Press story published at the time.

The initiative passed a township vote 29-0. Clausen told the AP that the state and federal government are trying to deny citizens their right to bear arms.

The Monday incident remains under investigation by local, state and federal authorities.

The Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office and Polk County Sheriff’s Office work together regularly on drug activity in the area. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations assist local authorities with these type of investigations.