Minn. deputy’s struggle endsThe message posted Monday morning on Chris Dewey’s CaringBridge Web site was brief. “Chris’s long and painful battle is over. At 10:33 a.m., he went peacefully with the Lord.”
By: By Dave Olson, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
The message posted Monday morning on Chris Dewey’s CaringBridge Web site was brief.
“Chris’s long and painful battle is over. At 10:33 a.m., he went peacefully with the Lord.”
For Dewey, a deputy with the Mahnomen County (Minn.) Sheriff’s Department, the battle began Feb. 18, 2009, when he was shot while investigating a report of a drunken driver in Mahnomen.
He was shot once in the head and twice in the stomach while responding with his partner to the report.
His battle ended under hospice care in the home of his wife’s parents near Princeton, Minn., said Mahnomen County Sheriff Doug Krier, who described Dewey as a big Teddy bear who got along with everyone.
“Which is, I think, a big feat,” Krier added. “We (law enforcement officers) don’t usually deal with people on the best of circumstances.”
Funeral services have yet to be announced.
Krier said he didn’t believe they would be this week.
“He was a young man,” Krier said of Dewey.
“He had a good life ahead of him, but I guess it’s not meant to be.”
Dewey underwent nu-merous surgeries following the shooting and in March 2009 he was transferred to a Colorado rehabilitation center.
He suffered a brain hemorrhage the following month, which was the start of medical setbacks that plagued Dewey through the summer and fall of 2009.
In December, more than 400 supporters raised $25,000 at a West Fargo VFW spaghetti feed.
In February, Dewey left the Colorado facility for a care center in south-central Minnesota.
He was hospitalized in early July for an infection and was given Botox injections for pain.
In mid July, the 27-year-old Dewey was placed under hospice care after a lung collapsed from Botox injection complications.
Over the course of Dewey’s medical treatments, family and friends were kept informed of his status via the CaringBridge Web site, which was often updated by his wife, Emily.
In a recent posting, Emily Dewey said family and friends were doing what they could to make her husband’s final days comfortable.
The Dewey family is very grateful for all the support it has received, according to Sarah Fulton, a close friend of Emily Dewey.
“I’m so proud of her for being so strong,” Fulton said of her friend.
New charges coming
The man accused of shooting Dewey, Thomas Lee Fairbanks, Anoka, Minn., currently faces numerous charges, including first-degree attempted murder.
Those charges will soon be modified, according to Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, whose office is handling the case.
“Our prosecutors expect to file upgraded criminal charges in light of this tragic death,” Swanson said in a written statement Monday.
“I offer my deepest condolences to Deputy Dewey’s family,” Swanson said. “This officer was brutally attacked while protecting the community and our whole state mourns his loss.”
A co-defendant in the shooting, Daniel Kurt Vernier, pleaded guilty to charges in Mahnomen County District Court and was sentenced in September to two years in prison.
Charene Vogel, of Audubon, Minn., organized a roadside vigil for Dewey on an evening in July, when Krier drove Dewey’s squad car from Detroit Lakes to Mahnomen.
She said Monday that she never met Dewey or his family, but nonetheless “wanted Chris to be honored before he passed away.
“He’s a hero,” Vogel said.
Dave Olson is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-
Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.