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Mahnomen County deputy shot woman when she 'produced a handgun,' authorities say

Deputy Dakota Czerny is on administrative leave, and the woman he shot is being treated for injuries at a Fargo hospital.

Dakota Czerny.jpg
Mahnomen County Sheriff Josh Guenther, left, welcomes Dakota Czerny as a deputy in January 2021. Czerny is on leave for shooting a women who "produced a gun" after a vehicle pursuit.
Mahnomen County Sheriff's Office photo
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NAYTAHWAUSH, Minn. — A Mahnomen County sheriff’s deputy shot a 20-year-old woman when she "produced a handgun" after a vehicle pursuit, authorities alleged.

Shequoya Deanne Basswood of Mahnomen, Minnesota, is recovering at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo after Deputy Dakota Czerny shot her this past weekend, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Tuesday, March 15, in a news release. Czerny is on administrative leave.

An unnamed Mahnomen County sheriff’s deputy tried to stop a vehicle at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday for speeding on Minnesota Highway 200, and the vehicle fled, according to the BCA.

Czerny took over the pursuit after the initial responding deputy’s vehicle slid into a ditch, the BCA said. Czerny forced the vehicle into a ditch in Naytahwaush, a White Earth Reservation town about 40 miles north of Detroit Lakes.

Two of the six occupants of the fleeing vehicle, including the driver, fled the scene. Basswood was among the four passengers who stayed at the scene.

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"As Deputy Czerny was detaining another passenger, Basswood produced a handgun," the BCA said in its release. "At one point shortly thereafter, Deputy Czerny discharged his firearm, striking Basswood."

A handgun was recovered from next to where Basswood was shot, the BCA said.

It’s unclear if Basswood fired the gun, the BCA said. The agency said it was investigating whether she told the officer she had a gun or if she pointed it at Czerny.

After the shooting, Czerny gave medical aid to Basswood who was flown to Sanford Medical Center. A Sanford spokesperson said Wednesday morning that Basswood was in fair condition, which means her vital signs were stable and within normal limits.

A BCA spokesperson declined to say where on her body she was shot.

The incident was captured on a dash camera, and the aftermath of what happened was recorded on a body camera, according to the BCA.

That footage will not be made public until the case is closed, the BCA said.

The BCA is investigating the incident for potential charges. Basswood had not been charged with any crime connected to the incident as of Tuesday afternoon.

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One of the two men who allegedly fled was found and interviewed by investigators. The BCA said people with information regarding the identity of the second person who fled should call 761-793-7000.

The BCA did not identify the other occupants of the vehicle.

Czerny has been a law enforcement officer for 14 months, all of which have been with the Mahnomen County Sheriff's Office, the BCA spokesperson said. Czerny referred questions to his agency.

Sheriff Josh Guenther did not return a message left by The Forum.

Related Topics: SHOOTINGSCRIME AND COURTS
April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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