Two arrested on suspicion of shooting at Ramsey County deputy

Authorities have arrested two people suspected of shooting at a Ramsey County Deputy during a car chase nearly two weeks ago.

The suspected shooter, a 20-year-old male, was arrested Wednesday during an early-morning search warrant in St. Paul's east side, St. Paul Police Sgt. Mike Ernster said. The suspect was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, first degree assault and drive-by shooting.

A 17-year-old male suspected of being the shooter's driver turned himself in hours later. Authorities booked him into the Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center on suspicion of fleeing police, aiding and abetting first-degree assault, and aiding and abetting attempted second-degree murder.

The Star Tribune usually does not name suspects until they are charged. Ramsey County Attorney's Office spokesperson Dennis Gerhardstein said charges are expected in the coming days.

Investigators suspect the men shot a rifle toward Ramsey County Deputy Joe Kill during a March 1 car chase, piercing Kill's vehicle and striking his ballistic vest with debris or shrapnel. Kill was taken to the hospital for an evaluation and released the same day.

"We are police officers in the city, but we are also part of our community. So to make an arrest this quick is incredible, and I think it provides everybody some peace of mind," Ernster said.

Violence befell more officers than usual in recent years. A Star Tribune analysis shows reported assaults against police increased 160% from a decade ago. A Wright County Deputy fatally shot a man believed to be holding a knife hours after bullets struck Deputy Kill's vehicle. And Burnsville residents are still reeling after a domestic dispute spiraled into chaos, leaving two officers and a paramedic dead. A federal grand jury is investigating how the shooter acquired his weapons.

St. Paul Police Chief Axel Henry said shooting at officers is a serious and "unacceptable" crime.

"If you will shoot at a law enforcement officer who's clearly a police officer, you will literally shoot at anybody. Our city will not stand for that," Henry said. "It's not how we're going to operate."

The investigation into deputy Kill's shooting is ongoing.