An Aitkin County sheriff’s investigator who was shot and killed at St. Cloud Hospital early Sunday was a 24-year veteran of the department, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Investigator Steven Martin Sandberg, 60, was monitoring a suspect being treated at the hospital for medical reasons when the suspect got out of his bed around 5:15 a.m. and initiated a struggle, took Sandberg’s gun, and shot him, according to the BCA. The suspect was identified as Danny Leroy Hammond, 50, of rural Aitkin, who also died Sunday morning.
“The only thing I can offer is I’d hope everyone can keep Investigator Sandberg’s wife and daughter in your thoughts and prayers in the coming days,” said Aitkin County Sheriff Scott Turner.
Hammond was a suspect in a domestic incident that occurred early last week, according to Turner. BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said Hammond had not been arrested and was not in handcuffs. St. Cloud Hospital Vice President Kurt Otto said the hospital requested the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Department monitor Hammond because of the seriousness of the domestic incident. Hammond had been monitored for more than a day, according to Otto.
Investigator Steven Martin Sandberg, 60, was monitoring a suspect being treated at the hospital for medical reasons when the suspect got out of his bed around 5:15 a.m. and initiated a struggle.
Evans said after Sandberg was shot, two hospital security guards and an Aitkin County deputy on hand to relieve Sandberg responded. Authorities used a stun gun to subdue Hammond, who later died. Evans said more information about the cause of Hammond’s death would be available after an autopsy.
The BCA said the incident was contained to Hammond’s hospital room. No other patients or hospital personnel were injured.
Otto praised hospital security staff and said their actions “kept this from being a bigger tragedy.”
Hammond had been convicted of felony escaping from custody in 1990, as well as felony third-degree burglary in 1989 and felony terroristic threats in 1990. All the convictions were for crimes committed in Aitkin County.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton offered his condolences to Sandberg’s family in a statement Sunday.
“I deplore the terrible, senseless murder of Deputy Sheriff Steven Sandberg,” Dayton’s statement said. “On behalf of all MInnesotans, I extend my deepest condolences to his family. This tragedy reminds us that Minnesota’s law enforcement officers risk their lives every day and night to keep us safe.”
A procession of squad cars brought Sandberg’s body from the hospital to Ramsey County for an autopsy Sunday afternoon.