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Man sets a house on fire, then ambushes police officer


FAIRMONT, Minn. (KTTC) A small community is shaken after authorities told us a man set a house on fire, then shot at a police officer and neighbor who responded to the fire, before later turning the gun on himself. It happened Tuesday evening, in Fairmont, located along the I-90 corridor.

Authorities responded to 415 Webster Street, around 7:30 p.m., for what they believed was a routine call for a house fire, but little did they know.

Six year veteran of the Fairmont Police Department, Chad Sanow, was the first to arrive on the scene. Soon after, he was approached by a neighbor, who identified himself as Matthew Von Watermulen.

Lieutenant Ellis with the Fairmont Police Department says the two men were ambushed by a gunmen.

"Preliminary investigations reveal that this looks like the house was set on fire, by the gunmen, for the purpose of shooting at our first responders," said Ellis.

Officer Sanow was struck by a bullet in the chest and Von Watermulen in the abdomen.

At this time authorities say they have not identified the gunmen. However, at the crime scene we caught up with a man who wished to remain anonymous, but says he knew the suspected 50 some year-old gunmen. He told us this wasn't his first run-in with the law.

"If he knew you'd he talk to you, a very polite guy. It's just a shock that he went to this extent. But the thing is that he didn't like the officers in town," said a friend of the killer.

Authorities say they found the body of the unidentified gunmen around 11 p.m. at the scene of the crime. It's believed he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Lieutenant Ellis says this incident has shaken the law enforcement community, but they're looking towards the future

"Officer Sanow is in great spirits. Again, we thank the Lord, because he was definitely protected last night, this was incredibly dangerous, scary and life-threatening. He's doing great, feeling great and we can't wait to get him back."

At this time the investigation is still on-going.


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