Deputy Sheriff Christopher Dewey Mahnomen County Sheriff’s Office Minnesota End of Watch: Monday, August 9, 2010

Photograph: Deputy Sheriff Christopher Dewey Patch image: Mahnomen County Sheriff's Office, Minnesota

Deputy Sheriff Christopher Dewey
Mahnomen County Sheriff’s Office

End of Watch: Monday, August 9, 2010

Biographical Info
Age: 26
Tour of Duty: Not available
Badge Number: 909

Incident Details
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Not available

Deputy Chris Dewey succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained 18 months earlier after responding to reports of a drunk driver and shots fired in the city of Mahnomen.
On February 18, 2009, Deputy Dewey responded to the call in the town of Mahnomen. When he arrived, he was shot in the head and abdomen by the suspect. When back-up units arrived, they found Deputy Dewey and transported him to the hospital.
A search for the suspect led to a nine-hour standoff at mobile home that was near the scene of the incident. The suspect eventually surrendered to police.
Deputy Dewey underwent a series of operations and required rehabilitative care following the initial shooting. In July, he was moved into hospice care where he died from his wounds on August 9, 2010.
Prior to Deputy Dewey’s death, the suspect was charged with attempted murder and 20 felony counts in connection with the incident.
Deputy Dewey is survived by his wife.

Agency Contact Information
Mahnomen County Sheriff’s Office
PO Box 440
Mahnomen, MN 56557
Phone: (218) 935-2255
Please contact the Mahnomen County Sheriff’s Office for funeral arrangements or for survivor benefit fund information.

Chris Dewey’s co-worker and friend Brad Teich describes him as a “Gentle Giant.”

“He was just a big kid. He was always the quieter one in the room,” Teich said.

After hanging on and fighting for his life for 18 months, the Mahnomen County deputy died at 10:33 a.m. Monday. He was 27.

Hearing the news took Mahnomen County Sheriff Doug Krier and his officers back to February 18, 2009 — the day Dewey’s battle all began.

Standing just a few miles down the road from where Dewey was shot once in the head and twice in the stomach, while investigating a report of a drunken driver in Mahnomen, Krier was remorseful, but thankful that his former partner can now rest peacefully surrounded by his loved ones in Princeton, Minn.

“Chris is probably sitting in a boat somewhere throwing a line in the water,” Krier said Monday evening outside of the Mahnomen County Courthouse. “He loved to fish.”

Krier said he spoke to Dewey’s wife, Emily Dewey, moments after Dewey passed away when she told him that it’s OK to feel sorry, but at one point, “you gotta feel glad.”

Emily, Chris’s high school sweetheart and wife of three years, wrote a brief message on his CaringBridge website Monday announcing his death.

“Chris’s long and painful battle is over. At 10:33 a.m. he went peacefully with the lord.”

After months of surgery for critical injuries to his brain and liver, rehab and setbacks, Dewey was placed on hospice care on July 15 after his lung collapsed from Botox injection complications.

Hundred of thousands of people followed Dewey’s story from the start. They organized fundraisers, candlelight vigils and tributes to make sure he knew he was not alone.

“People are coming together and they’re willing to support our officers, even though they didn’t know him,” Krier said.

A spaghetti feed held last December in West Fargo raised more than $25,000 for Dewey. A candlelight vigil and balloon release held in July along Highway 59 in Detroit Lakes brought dozens of supporters out to show their appreciation for Dewey’s public service.

“He’s gonna be missed greatly,” Krier said.

Dewey’s badge number “909” will be retired, but Mahnomen County deputies plan to honor it by plastering it on all of their squad cars.

Funeral service

Visitation will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18 followed by a funeral service at Living Word Church in Plymouth. Interment will take place at Crystal Lake Cemetery in Minneapolis.

The entire Mahnomen County Sheriff’s Department plans to attend. There will be deputies from surrounding counties patrolling Mahnomen while they’re at the service, Krier said.

New charges coming

The man accused of shooting Dewey, Thomas Lee Fairbanks, of Anoka, Minn., is currently facing numerous charges, including first-degree attempted murder.

Those charges will soon be modified, according to Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, whose office is handling the case.

“Our prosecutors expect to file upgraded criminal charges in light of this tragic death,” Swanson said in a written statement Monday.

“I offer my deepest condolences to Deputy Dewey’s family,” Swanson said. “This officer was brutally attacked while protecting the community and our whole state mourns his loss.”

A co-defendant in the shooting, Daniel Kurt Vernier, pleaded guilty to charges in Mahnomen County District Court and was sentenced in September to two years in prison.

“A lot of it is a sense of relief and looking for that bit of closure so we can move on as a department and as individuals,” Teich said.

Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reporter Dave Olson contributed to this report.


CAMBRIDGE, Minn. — Photos of Chris Dewey’s life clearly reflect his pride in serving four years as the sheriff’s deputy in Mahnomen County.  Sheriff Doug Krier said Dewey brought his trademark laughter to the office.

“We sit down and talk about Chris (now) and talk about some of the stuff he used to do and you sit there and laugh about it for awhile,” recalled Krier.

But with Dewey’s humor came heroism.  The deputy was shot in the head and stomach in a standoff in February of last year. Dewey went through surgery and rehabilitation as he tried to recover.

Thousands tracked his progress on a Caring Bridge website, where his wife Emily wrote about their journey from high school sweethearts to the days this past year when Dewey fought to talk and walk.  Together, family and friends watched as he went from improvement to setbacks and then to hospice when his lung collapsed.  Still, all those who loved him say they were unprepared for the news of his death.

“By the time you get the phone call and things actually happen, it still hits you hard,” said Krier.

Dewey’s wife said that with the grieving comes relief that the boy whose childhood dream was to be an officer died peacefully and finally without pain.

“Chris was an amazing man that – that gave up his life in serving this community and this state — and he’s a hero,” said Emily.

Prosecutors say they will now upgrade the charges against the 27-year-old man accused in Dewey’s shooting.

The family originally planned a benefit to raise money for a new house for Chris and Emily, but will now hold it to fund a youth crime prevention program in Mahnomen County.

The fundraiser is set for August 28, from 4-9 p.m. at the Cambridge Armed Forces Reserve Center.  It will include a silent auction and dinner.

Email for more information.


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