NEVIS, Minn. — It was a Valentine's Day many in a small Minnesota community will never forget — when three people were left dead and a sheriff's deputy was injured after a domestic dispute escalated, ending in a car chase and roadside shoot out.
Police dash camera footage from the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office shows much of what unfolded the night of Feb. 14, when 34-year-old Bryce Bellomo shot and killed his sisters-in-law outside of a day care in Nevis and later led officers on a dangerous car chase down icy rural highways before taking his own life.
Bellomo, who was known in Nevis as a volunteer firefighter, award-winning taxidermist and leader of a Boy Scout Troop, had been served divorce papers earlier in February. The couple had just dropped their kids off at the day care when police said Bellomo confronted his in-laws.
Dash camera footage captures the first moments that law enforcement became aware of the soon-to-be deadly domestic incident. It was just before 8 p.m. on when the first call came in.
“All Hubbard units. Ongoing domestic with a gun at Lori's Little Feet Daycare in Nevis,” dispatchers can be heard saying over the radio in a deputy’s car.
A minute later, the shooting began outside of the home day care, which Bellomo’s mother operates.
“He has fired the gun. He has unloaded a clip,” emergency officials can be heard saying over the radio. “Unknown which direction he has fired in.”
Bellomo had just shot two women — 40-year-old Heidi Pierce and 37-year-old Candi Goochey — his wife’s sisters. During the shooting, dispatchers said his wife and her three children were hiding inside the garage.
When deputies arrived, Pierce was found dead in the driveway. Bellomo had taken the car with Candi Goochey’s body still inside.
Bellomo’s wife led the kids out of the garage, wanting to know what happened to her sisters.
“Where are my sisters?” she can be heard saying before the dispatcher asks for their names. Bellomo’s wife then screams, ”Oh my God! He shot them. ... I told them not to come.”
About an hour later, deputies found Bellomo driving in rural Nevis. He refused to pull over and fled deputies, shooting at them during a 20-minute pursuit.
Gunshots can be heard in the dash camera audio before Deputy Eric Rypkema radios in informing dispatchers he was hit.
Rypkema was hit in the face and shoulder by bullet fragments but survived and can be heard contacting a loved one, calmly telling her he was a “little banged up.”
About a minute later, more shots could be heard as Bellomo’s vehicle went off the road.
Deputies were ambushed as they came around the corner to find him outside his car, firing at them. One of them, later identified by the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office as Deputy Seth Kuhn, returned fire.
When the shots stopped, deputies first thought Bellemo had run away during the shootout. But when they checked his car again, they found him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Deputies also found the body of Candi Goochey.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigated the incident, and the Hubbard County Attorney's Office cleared the officer of any wrongdoing.