Woman’s Illegal Buying Spree Led To The Killing Of Three Minnesota First Responders, Prosecutor Says

The FBI said Thursday that a woman’s “illegal buying spree” armed a man with the high-powered guns he used to kill three Minnesota police officers during a shootout at a home with seven children inside.

Court papers say Ashley Anne Dyrdahl bought two semiautomatic pistols and three AR-style semiautomatic rifles, one of which has a device that doubles the rate of fire. It also said that detectives found “a stockpile of fully loaded magazines as well as boxes with hundreds of additional rounds of ammunition” in the bedroom that Dyrdahl and the gunman, Shannon Gooden, shared.

At a press conference, U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger said that Ashley Anne Dyrdahl, 35, of Burnsville, worked with Gooden to give him guns illegally, even though she knew that he was a convicted felon and could not legally have them.

The woman was Gooden’s “long-time live-in partner,” according to Luger. He said that her “reprehensible disregard for public safety and the law” and the “outrageous consequences of this disregard for public safety” were “explainable.”

One count of conspiracy and five counts of making false claims while buying a gun were brought against Dyrdahl. Luger said that the most time that could be spent in jail for these charges is 15 years.

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She was not in jail, and authorities were not planning to ask that she be jailed when she first showed up in federal court Thursday afternoon. Katherian Roe, the top federal defender for Minnesota, said that Dyrdahl would have a duty lawyer at her first court date, but that her office probably wouldn’t decide if they would represent her in future cases until Friday. It says that a phone number in Dyrdahl’s name is no longer valid. A note was sent to a guy who was thought to be her father.

Three people were killed during the battle on February 18 in Burnsville, a suburb of Minneapolis. They were police officers Paul Elmstrand and Matthew Ruge, both 27, and firefighter-paramedic Adam Finseth, 40. There were thousands of police officers, firemen, and paramedics at their memorial service two weeks ago. Sgt. Adam Medlicott, 38, was shot while helping people who were hurt, but he lived.

Investigators say that Gooden, who was 38 years old, killed himself after a long negotiation by opening fire without notice.

Luger said that Dyrdahl got five guns from two licensed dealers for Gooden. These were the guns that killed the three first responders. There were Glock semiautomatic handguns and AR-style rifles among the weapons. One of the guns had a “binary” trigger that made it fire twice as fast.

The indictment says she went to gun stores many times with Gooden’s permission and bought or picked up the exact guns he wanted from September to January. These guns included the two AR-15-style rifles that were used in the shootings. According to the charge, she lied on forms when she said she wasn’t going to give the guns to a criminal.

According to court records, Gooden couldn’t legally own guns because he had been convicted of criminal assault in 2007 and had been fighting with his ex-wife for years over his three oldest children. There were kids in the house from 2 to 15 years old.

“We just gotta make sure we’re smart about all this, you know?” Dyrdahl told Gooden in a text message about the illegal purchases, according to the charge.

She asked him how he liked the new Glock 47 9mm semiautomatic gun she had bought him in a second conversation in September of last year.

“In response, he sent her a video of himself putting an extra magazine in his Glock 47,” Luger said. “She replied with a heart emoji that was smiling.”

Luger and others used a letter Dyrdahl wrote for Gooden when he tried unsuccessfully to get his gun rights returned in 2020 as proof that she knew Gooden was not allowed to legally own guns. Gooden wanted to protect his home because family “is everything” to him, but Dakota County Attorney Kathryn Keena said it was the children who needed protection.

Keena said, “Ms. Dyrdahl is the reason he had so many guns on him, which led to the deaths of three Dakota County police officers and injuries to another officer who was acting selflessly to protect those children.”

It’s still not clear what exactly happened or why it happened. Drew Evans, director of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said that all the information about the case will be made public once the investigation is over.

The bureau says that police were sent to Gooden’s house around 1:50 a.m. Gooden wouldn’t leave, but he said he wasn’t carrying a gun and that he had kids inside. Officers went in and talked with him for three and a half hours to try to get him to give up. However, the police said that Gooden opened fire on officers inside without notice just before 5:30 a.m.

The FBI said they think Elmstrand, Ruge, and Medlicott were shot inside the house first. From inside the house, Medlicott and another cop who wasn’t hurt shot back, hitting Gooden in the leg.

The bureau says Ruge and Medlicott were shot a second time as police officers went to an armored car in the yard. It said Finseth, who was on the SWAT team, was shot while trying to help the police. A doctor said that Elmstrand, Ruge, and Finseth were dead.

The FBI said Gooden killed himself after firing more than 100 shots. A bureau agent filed a document with the court that said the first 911 call was about a “sexual assault allegation,” but it didn’t give any more information.

Late last month, John McConkey, the owner of a gun shop in Burnsville, told reporters that a buyer who passed the background check and got one of the guns on January 5 had bought a part of one of the guns that was found at the scene. He claimed that police were looking into the person who picked it up for making a felony straw purchase. Gooden was not there at the time. According to the charges, Dyrdahl bought or picked up four of the five guns there.

Noemi Torres, Gooden’s ex-girlfriend, said this week that she had appeared in front of a federal grand jury that was looking into the case. On Wednesday, she told The Associated Press that she was asked about her connection with Gooden and whether he could have forced her to buy him a gun. She told the grand jury that she wouldn’t have done it because “I was scared for my life” because of their history of having abused each other.

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