RED LAKE, Minn. (AP) — A man was charged Wednesday in the killing of a Red Lake Nation police officer who was fatally shot while responding to a call to a residence on the tribe’s reservation in northwestern Minnesota.
David Donnell Jr., 28, of Redby, was charged in federal court with one count of second-degree murder and four counts of assault with a dangerous weapon in the death of Officer Ryan Bialke.
The 37-year-old Bialke was killed Tuesday after he went to Donnell’s home on a report of a suicidal male with children possibly in the residence, according to the Red Lake Department of Public Safety. Federal authorities say Donnell was standing on the porch when officers arrived, then went inside the house.
Because Donnell refused to comply with orders from the officers and had an active warrant, police broke down the front door, Department of Justice officials said. That’s when Donnell began firing. Bialke was struck by gunfire and died at the scene, officials said.
Donnell fled and was taken into custody at a nearby residence a short time later, authorities said. Court documents do not list an attorney for Donnell.
The tribe said Bialke was a six-year veteran of the Red Lake Police Department. He is survived by his wife and four children.
His ex-wife, Andrea Bialke, of Hanover, described her former husband as a happy and generous soul who lived to help others.
“Ryan had a big heart and he was always laughing and smiling, and he was a great dad to our three children,” she told the Star Tribune. “He just loved helping everybody.
“If there was someone on the side of the road that needed help with their vehicle, he would stop and help. He was just that kind of guy,” she said.
It was Ryan Bialke’s desire to help others that led him to police work, Andrea Bialke said. He graduated from Rasmussen College and the couple moved to Bemidji when he landed the job in Red Lake. He was not a member of the tribe, she said.
Bialke, who is identified on the Red Lake Nation website as a conservation enforcement officer, was one of 38 sworn law enforcement officers serving Red Lake.
The Red Lake Reservation is in northwest Minnesota, about 160 miles (257 kilometers) from the Canadian border. It covers about 1,260 square miles (3,263 square kilometers) and is home to about half of the tribe’s 14,000 members.