Minnesota man crashes stolen car into yard, shoots homeowner dead after knocking on door: cops

minnesota

Jun. 23 2021, Published 4:18 p.m. ET

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A Minnesota man with alleged mental health issues is accused of crashing a vehicle into a yard and then shooting the homeowner, authorities said.

Jason R. Beckman of Duluth allegedly stole an Audi left running outside a Waite Park business around 5:30 a.m. on June 20.

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Beckman told officers he was lost in St. Cloud when he lost control of the car and crashed onto the property of Ed Ward, 68, around 6:15 a.m., the Star Tribune reported, citing a criminal complaint filed in Stearns County District Court.

Beckman, 45, allegedly knocked on Ward’s door and thought he recognized him as the man “who had pointed [a] tan rifle at him earlier” at a grocery store, court documents state.

Ward attempted to shut his door but Beckman allegedly shot him in the abdomen and chest before fleeing on foot.

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The victim, who was a professor at St. Cloud University, was able to give responding officers a description of his attacker and was then sedated. He was pronounced dead nearly four hours after getting shot.

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Investigators searching the stolen Audi left at the scene discovered a .45-caliber magazine, pellet gun and what is believed to be drugs, according to court documents..

About an hour after the shooting, police located the suspect one and a half miles away with cartridges and a stolen .45-caliber handgun that appeared to match items from the scene, court documents state.

The Star Tribune reported Beckman made “spontaneous utterances” when detained, including about addiction and delusions

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The court documents allege Beckman said he had been diagnosed with manic-depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia and claimed he was not sure if the man he said pointed a rifle at him at the store actually existed.

Beckman faces felony charges of theft, possession of a firearm and second-degree murder. He is being held on $2 million bail with no conditions and $1 million bail with conditions, according to the news outlet.

In a statement, family described the victim as a “gentle, quiet and intelligent man.”

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