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Prosecutor: South Fargo trailer house shooting was self-defense

Prosecutors say both the man who fired the gun and his best friend who was shot gave very similar stories about the July 4 shooting in south Fargo.

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A Fargo Police Department body camera shows 22-year-old Kyle Lovaas surrendering to police outside his home moments after he shot his best friend.
Contributed / Cass County State's Attorney's Office
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FARGO — A south Fargo man detained for attempted murder after shooting his best friend multiple times has been released from jail.

Prosecutors are saying the shooting was self-defense, and they do not plan to file charges against Kyle Lovaas.

Officers responded to the Countryside Trailer Court just after 7 a.m. Monday, July 4, after Lovaas, 22, called 911.

"He (expletive) came at me like a mad man, and I (expletive) shot him," Lovaas can be heard saying to the 911 dispatcher.

He told the dispatcher he fired six shots from a handgun.

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Tin Nguyen, 24, was shot in the chest and stomach. A detective can be heard commenting on body camera video that Nguyen lost so much blood that his heart stopped.

Other stories by Matt Henson
21-year-old Tessa Holt was a dispatcher for Aggressive Towing and had a very unique way helping those in crisis.

Doctors at Sanford were able to revive him, according to police.

Lovaas did not elaborate on what happened inside his bedroom other than to say there was a fight, and the shooting was in self-defense.

He demanded a lawyer and did not give any statements to police.

After doctors were able to save Nguyen's life, he provided police with a much clearer picture from his hospital bed.

He said he and Lovaas were drinking for hours around a fire at Lovaas' home and that Lovaas became extremely drunk.

"He was like acting like an idiot. I'm trying to put him to bed," Nguyen told the detective.

He said that turned into a brawl inside the bedroom. Nguyen told the detective he started using UFC fight moves. Lovaas then pulled out a gun and demanded Nguyen leave the home, Nguyen said, adding he tried to grab the gun.

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"Grabbed it like this and stuff (inaudible) knock it down," Nguyen told the detective.

"Did you get your hand on the gun at all?" the detective asked.

"No, he shot me right away because I missed," Nguyen said.

After comparing Lovaas' 911 call with Nguyen's bedside interview, prosecutors determined they would not be able to disprove a self-defense claim and opted not to charge Lovaas. He was initially detained for attempted murder and was in Cass County Jail for less than 24 hours.

"This was a mutual fight, and there was a substantial self-defense claim here," said Assistant Cass County State's Attorney Ryan Younggren.

"The most important thing in this case was the statement we got from the victim, and his statement really corroborated much of what the suspect had said. And also, when asked about self-defense, he had said 'I could see how this could be a self-defense case,'" Younggren said. "... Those kind of things we don't often hear from people that are shot."

While being questioned at the hospital, Nguyen repeatedly asked the officer if he was going to be charged for attacking Lovaas. Prosecutors said he will not.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTSFARGO
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 mhenson@wday.com 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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