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Bayfield County man arrested in neighbor's shooting death

Public records indicate the suspect had successfully sought a restraining order against the victim in 2018.

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A man is in custody after allegedly fatally shooting his neighbor late Friday in Bayfield County, authorities said.

Randy Erickson, 62, was arrested on suspicion of killing 64-year-old Michael Kinney in an incident that occurred around 10 p.m., according to the Bayfield County Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office did not offer any additional information on the circumstances of the shooting, other than to say that it happened near Kinney's residence. Public records indicate he lived on County Highway J, near the Bayfield Town Hall, about two miles directly west of the city of Bayfield.

Erickson is listed as living at a neighboring house, and public court records show that he obtained a harassment restraining order against Kinney in 2018.

Erickson testified at the time about several incidents, including one in which Kinney allegedly placed some boots under a big rock, which was labeled "R. Erickson," according to court records. The conflict apparently involved, at least in part, a dispute over a road and culvert.

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Erickson stated at the time that he has heart issues and was concerned for his health. Kinney denied any harassing behavior, but Judge Kelly McKnight ruled there were "reasonable grounds to find harassment occurred for no legitimate purpose." He ordered Kinney to have no contact with Erickson through December 2022.

Bayfield County authorities did not disclose any details of what led up to Friday night's shooting. Chief Deputy Dan Clark only said Kinney was pronounced dead a short time after deputies and emergency medical personnel were summoned to the report of a shooting.

The sheriff's office is leading the investigation. Members of the Wisconsin Department of Justice crime lab were on scene processing physical evidence and a Wisconsin State Patrol reconstructionist was summoned to assist with documentation.

An autopsy was expected to be performed by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office on Sunday. Clark said the Sheriff's Office expects to have its investigation "substantially completed" by the end of the week.

Erickson does not have any apparent criminal history. He is likely to make an appearance in Bayfield County Circuit Court early this week.

This story was updated at 2:50 p.m. (May 10) with additional information from the Bayfield County Sheriff's Office. It was originally posted at 9:15 a.m. (May 10)

Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or tolsen@duluthnews.com.
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