Details emerge in incident that claimed the life of a Grand Forks police officer and civilian woman
Grand Forks County Sheriff Andrew Schneider and Grand Forks Police Chief Mark Nelson gave a press conference Thursday that shed more detail on what happened on Wednesday, May 27, leading up to a shootout that left two injured and two dead, including Police Officer Cody Holte.
The Grand Forks Police Department has confirmed that Officer Cody Holte, 29, has died from injuries sustained in a shootout in Grand Forks. Grand Forks County Sheriff's Cpl. Ron Nord, who was also injured by gunfire, was discharged from the hospital Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, condolences and support for Holte, Nord and all peace officers and their families poured in as Holte's name was released as the officer who died in the Wednesday, May 27, incident in Grand Forks.
"Officer Cody Holte spent his entire adult life protecting and serving the citizens of Grand Forks as a member of the Grand Forks Police Department and previously the state of North Dakota with North Dakota National Guard," Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown said in a statement emailed to the media shortly after Thursday's press conference. "In these roles, he was a highly respected colleague, a beloved friend, and a courageous member of the law enforcement community. Above all, Cody was a son, a brother, a husband, and a father. He is missed."
Gov. Doug Burgum has asked "all North Dakotans to pray for (Holte's) loved ones, for the recovery of the injured deputy and for the continued safety of all law enforcement officers. This is a tragic reminder of the risk our brave men and women in uniform face every day when they put on the badge to protect our communities. We’re deeply grateful for the officers and deputies whose swift action prevented further loss of life, and we join the Grand Forks Police Department, Chief Mark Nelson and the entire law enforcement community in mourning this devastating loss.”
Thursday's press conference gave new details to the incident, which occurred at 2:24 p.m. Wednesday. Grand Forks County Sheriff Andrew Schneider said that Sheriff's Office Sgt. Kelly McLean and Nord went to 2627 S. 17th St. No. 303 to serve a writ of restitution ordered by a judge, which ordered them to remove the apartment's tenants, Salamah Pendelton, 41, and Lola Moore, 61.
When no one answered the door, the deputies entered the residence, and Pendleton retreated to a bedroom, Schneider said. After the deputies' requests to come out went unanswered, they opened the door to the bedroom, when they were "overtaken by heavy gunfire," Schneider said.
Nord, a 34-year member of law enforcement, received gunshot wounds to his upper leg and abdomen, and assistance was called for immediately. GFPD Cpl. Patrick Torok and Holte responded. Officers exchanged multiple volleys of gunfire, and Pendleton sustained several gunshot wounds. Moore was fatally shot in the exchange.
Holte, a three-year member of the Grand Forks Police Department, received severe gunshot wounds. Officers rendered emergency aid on the scene before carrying him out of the apartment and into an ambulance. Holte was transported to Altru Hospital, where he later died from his injuries. Holte leaves behind a wife and infant son, said Grand Forks Police Chief Mark Nelson.
The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation will lead the investigation into Holte's death. Because the investigation is active and ongoing, no further information about the incident was to be released Thursday, said BCI Director Lonnie Grabowska. No charges have yet been filed, but Grand Forks County State's Attorney Haley Wamstad said her office is working closely with law enforcement, and she expects charges will be filed soon.
State Peace Officer Academy instructors like Nord frequently warn young officers about serving civil paperwork, and Schneider said Wednesday's incident proves that point.
"When he said this is the most dangerous thing you can do in this job, he wasn't lying, this is one," Schneider said. "Why this incident occurred, we're working on that. It's not fair. We're moving past it, but there's a reason two officers went."
Several state and local officials have offered their condolences to Holte's family and the families of all involved.
U.S. Sen. John Hoeven praised the Grand Forks officers for their work and sacrifices.
“Mikey and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the officer who gave his life in the line of duty," Hoeven said in an emailed statement. "We are praying for the officer’s loved ones, the injured deputy and the peace officers working to keep our communities safe. We honor this officer’s service and sacrifice, and will keep his loved ones in our prayers.”
Flags will fly at half-staff on the day of Holte's interment in accordance with the governor's policy. A date for the interment has yet to be determined.