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.
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.
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.
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
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.”