Authorities identify 2 deputies involved in Nevis shooting

Deputy Erick Rypkema was injured when a shooting suspect he was pursuing shot at him from a vehicle Thursday night, Feb. 14.   Hubbard County Sheriff's Office / Special to the Forum
Deputy Erick Rypkema was injured when a shooting suspect he was pursuing shot at him from a vehicle Thursday night, Feb. 14. Hubbard County Sheriff's Office / Special to the Forum

NEVIS, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has identified two Hubbard County Sheriff's Office deputies involved in a shooting incident on Thursday, Feb. 14, in the north-central Minnesota city of Nevis.

An armed suspect shot and killed two people, wounded a deputy while fleeing in his vehicle and later turned a gun on himself after entering a ditch and exchanging gunfire with a deputy.

The Hubbard County deputy who fired his weapon during the incident was Deputy Seth Kuhn, who is a law enforcement veteran of nine years, spending the last year with the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office, according to a news release.

Kuhn was placed on standard administrative leave, the sheriff's office said the Friday after the shooting.

Deputy Erick Rypkema, a 13-year law enforcement veteran who has been with the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office for four years, was injured when fired upon by suspect Bryce Anthony Bellomo while pursuing him.

Rypkema was struck by bullet fragments and his car went into a ditch. He was treated at St. Joseph Hospital in Park Rapids and then Essentia Health in Fargo and is now back home, according to the sheriff's office.

Sherman Anderson, a friend who saw Rypkema the morning after, told WDAY News on Friday that the deputy had a "ding on the top of his head" and a few stitches, but noted that he was in positive spirits when he returned from the hospital.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office on Saturday identified the three people who died in the incident:

  • Heidi Eve Pierce, 40, of Akeley, Minn., died of homicide due to a gunshot wound.
  • Candi Cheryl Goochey, 37, of Akeley, died of homicide due to a gunshot wound.
  • Bryce Anthony Bellomo, 34, of Nevis, died of suicide due to a gunshot wound.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the officer-involved shooting. The BCA is in the process of conducting interviews with incident participants and witnesses. Additional information, including the names of the deputies, will be released once those interviews are completed.

When the BCA’s investigation of the officer-involved shooting is completed, the BCA will turn its case file over without recommendation to the Hubbard County Attorney’s Office for review.

The Forum News Service previously reported that a motive remains unclear for the Feb. 14 shooting, which resulted in three deaths and a deputy being wounded during a chase.

The Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call just before 8 p.m. about the shooting at a home day care in the city of Nevis, a town of around 400 around 100 miles east of Fargo. The incident started as a domestic dispute, officials said.

Bellomo, whose Facebook page lists him as an award-winning taxidermist, volunteer firefighter, Boy Scout leader and baseball coach, was served divorce papers earlier in February, according to public records. In March 2018, he was charged with domestic assault for an incident involving his wife.

When deputies arrived, they found a dead woman and learned that the armed suspect, allegedly Bellomo, fled in the victim's car with a second victim in the back, who had also been shot and killed, the sheriff's office said.