Charges were filed Tuesday against one of two men who led police on a 40-mile highway pursuit out of Blaine over the weekend that ended with the other suspect shot to death and a police K-9 wounded by gunfire.
Joseph W. Heroff, 26, of Hammond, Wis., was charged in Anoka County District Court with first-degree aggravated robbery and fleeing police in a vehicle in connection with the high-speed encounter early Sunday afternoon.
Heroff, whose criminal history spans more than five years in two states, remains jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail. He's due back in court on March 15. Court records do not list an attorney for him.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), which is investigating the incident, said Tuesday night that the suspect who was fatally shot has been identified as Dominic Lucas Koch, 27, of St. Croix Falls, Wis.
Citing the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office, the BCA said he died of multiple gunshot wounds.
According to the charges against Heroff:
Blaine police responded to a shoplifting call at Kohl's department store and were told that Heroff and his accomplice were driving off in an SUV. Police located the vehicle and tried to stop it. However, it fled into a nearby Menards parking lot.
The officers used their vehicle to bring the SUV to a halt, but Heroff and the other man, later identified as Koch, ran across a frozen drainage pond toward the Conquer Ninja Gym, where they carjacked a pickup truck at gunpoint from a man and his 9-year-old daughter.
The suspects led officers on a high-speed chase north through Anoka and Isanti counties, police said.
After the pickup became disabled on Hwy. 65 outside of Braham, the two men started running. They soon exchanged gunfire with officers, who killed the then-unidentified suspect, police said. A gun was recovered at the scene.
Also wounded by gunfire was an Anoka Police Department K-9. The dog, Bravo, was treated at a veterinary hospital Monday and released. One officer suffered minor injuries.
Once in custody, Heroff told police that he waited in their SUV while his accomplice stole a cart full of merchandise. Heroff also said it was his accomplice who brandished the gun during the carjacking and was the driver during the high-speed chase.
At the time of Heroff's capture in Isanti County, authorities in Polk County in Wisconsin had a warrant out for his arrest on charges filed in July of possessing illicit drugs and paraphernalia, and for resisting law enforcement. He also has convictions in western Wisconsin for resisting an officer and possessing drug paraphernalia.
In Minnesota, from Chisago County to the Twin Cities and as far south as Mower County, Heroff has two convictions for drug possession, and three for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He also has a drug possession case pending from June 2020 in Hennepin County.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482