Manhunt for fatal shooting suspect in North Dakota entering its second night

The family of Troyal Thumb, 30, say he was protecting a female bartender when he was shot and killed in Eddy County.

Nicholas Poitra
Nicholas Poitra.
Eddy County Sheriff's Office photo

SHEYENNE, N.D. — The manhunt for a suspect involved in a fatal shooting in a rural North Dakota bar is entering its second night.

Police say the man, 45-year-old Nicholas Poitra, is likely armed and is considered "extremely dangerous."

He's accused of shooting 30-year old Troyal Thumb inside Rindy's Bar in Sheyenne, North Dakota, around 7 p.m. Sunday night, Feb. 19. Sheyenne is a small town roughly 30 miles southwest of Devils Lake.

Several other people were inside the bar at the time.

Poitra has ties to the Spirit Lake Reservation and the Turtle Mountain Reservation, so police in both those areas are asking residents to be on high alert.


Police say there was some sort of verbal argument between the men. Poitra then allegedly shot and killed Thumb, a single father of three.

Thumb's aunt says the argument had something to do with Poitra, and his interactions with the bartender, who is a close family friend of Thumb's. Thumb was reportedly unarmed when he stepped in to protect her.

That's why Thumb's aunt is calling him a hero, potentially saving the friend's life from Poitra.

A law enforcement source says the car Poitra reportedly stole to get away was found in Wells County, North Dakota.

Troyal Thumb
Submitted Photo

Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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