Man charged with murder in killing Minn. officer
Sgt. Joseph Bergeron was shot in the head sitting in his patrol car
MINNEAPOLIS — A slain Maplewood police officer didn't have time to unbuckle his seat belt before one of the two carjacking suspects he confronted shot him in the head. While on the run, the other suspect told a friend who gave him a ride, "We jacked that guy and we smoked that cop," authorities said Monday.
Those were among the details in a criminal complaint charging Joshua Michael Martin, 21, of St. Paul, the only surviving suspect, with aiding and abetting second-degree intentional murder in the death of Sgt. Joseph Bergeron, 49. Prosecutors also charged Martin with kidnapping for the carjacking.
The complaint identified Jason John Jones, 21, of St. Paul, as the man who shot Bergeron on Saturday. A St. Paul police officer later shot Jones as they struggled. Martin told police he regarded Jones, a fellow ex-con, as a "brother."
He said he thought Jones shot Bergeron because he was wanted for a parole violation and didn't want to go back to jail, the complaint said.
Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner said her office may decide later to ask a grand jury to indict Martin for the first-degree murder of a police officer, but the investigation was continuing.
Bail was set at $2 million. Martin qualified for a public defender but it was not immediately clear who would get his case.
Also Monday, police said they had arrested a brother and sister from St. Paul on suspicion of helping Martin elude authorities. The 21-year-old man, arrested Sunday, has the same initials as the friend identified by only his initials in the complaint who gave Martin a ride. Martin was arrested at the 23-year-old woman's apartment. She was arrested Monday. Police said she had information about Martin she did not disclose earlier. The two have not yet been charged.
According to the complaint, the carjacking victim said Martin and Jones pointed guns at his head just after he bought gas a St. Paul filling station. He told police they wanted money. He said he didn't have any. He drove them around and eventually told them he had money at home. He was pretending to bring them there when he stopped at a home in Maplewood and fled on foot.
Martin and Jones also ran off, the complaint said. Bergeron responded and radioed he was checking out two people.
Shortly after, a passing jogger used Bergerson's radio to report an officer was shot. He told police he saw the officer open his door as two men approached. He said a man matching Jones' description shot the officer once at point-blank range.
The complaint said police soon suspected Martin and Jones, based on prior contacts with them. Security video from the gas station showed they had been there just before the carjacking.
Among the officers sealing off the area was David Longbehn of the St. Paul Police Department. He was several blocks away when he saw Jones walking toward him, talking loudly on a cell phone and carrying what looked like a tool box, the complaint said.
Longbehn ordered Jones to stop and was frisking him when Jones struck him in the face with a large bolt wrapped in cloth, breaking the officer's nose and causing potential fractures to the bones around his eyes, the complaint said. In the ensuing struggle, Longbehn took out his gun and fired several times. Jones died at the scene.
As the manhunt went on, Martin's parents called police several times and eventually put him on the phone. Martin told police he was angry they had killed Jones, the complaint said. By the time squad cars arrived at his parents' home, he was gone. Martin later called police and said where he was hiding.
"Joshua Martin stated that he would not be taken alive and was going to kill himself or have the police kill him. Martin then said he slit his wrists but did not hit the artery and was bleeding 'pretty good.' Martin then agreed to give himself up and was arrested by police," the complaint said.