by Jim Boyle
Matthew William Morse, the 34-year-old Elk River man charged in a Sept. 27 shooting, told police he was acting in self defense when he fired a 9 mm pistol at a person.
Morse was charged with assault in the second degree with a dangerous weapon and fifth-degree possession of a marijuana on Sept. 30 in Sherburne County 10th District Court in Elk River.
In a statement of probable cause, police laid out a case for a drug deal gone bad that took a turn for the worse when the victim allegedly entered the home and was shot in the abdomen.
In the course of investigating the matter, the Elk River Police determined that numerous people lived at 611 4th St., including Morse, who turned himself in the morning after the Sept. 27 shooting.
The victim was reportedly one of four individuals who showed up at the home that night to purchase drugs. Once at the residence, one of the four individuals reportedly went inside and bought a controlled substance for $30 from an occupant in the residence.
When he returned to the vehicle, one of the individuals in the vehicle reportedly became angry because he did not feel they got what they paid for. The one who bought the drugs told police he went back into the residence to try and get his money back, according to the criminal complaint.
While he was in the residence, he said he could hear the person that was upset yelling outside the residence. He said he then heard the door of the residence being kicked in and he hid in the home.
He told police he heard a gunshot about 15 seconds later. He then discovered the person he came to the house with had been shot.
When police arrived, the victim told police he had shot himself. He was then airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale to be treated for a gunshot wound.
Morse turned himself in at 7:25 a.m. Sept. 28.
There was quite a bit of commotion at the home prior to that happening, including a standoff between police and occupants of the home.
Police stated officers surrounded the residence and several occupants came outside. They were detained and interviewed at the Elk River police station.
Officers saw at least one person still in the home and called in the Elk River SWAT team, Sherburne County’s Emergency Response Unit and Elk River Police Department crisis negotiators.
Negotiators made contact with a male inside the home. He eventually came out and was detained without incident.
During questioning he provided information on the possible identity of the alleged shooter.
Officers observed additional activity in the home. Attempts were made by loudspeaker to have any other occupants inside the residence to come out, according to Elk River Police Chief Brad Rolfe.
After receiving no response, SWAT members from Elk River and Sherburne County entered the residence and conducted a search for other victims or suspects. An adult male was located inside the residence and questioned.
Morse told police he lived at the residence and he has his own bedroom there that has a deadbolt and padlock locks on the outside of the door.
He told police that about 10 p.m. on Sept. 27 he heard someone trying to break into the residence. He stated he started to go toward the front door when he heard glass break.
He said he then went and grabbed a 9 millimeter pistol from his room.
He stated an individual he didn’t know entered the home and chased him around the residence, but did not say anything.
Ultimately, he said the person chased him out onto the deck of the residence. He told police he turned and shot the person. He said he aimed for the bigger section of the person, who police determined to be about 15 feet away from him.
Morse, who stated he was acting in self defense, said he hid the pistol in the rafters of a basement laundry room and ran from the residence.
Police located two small bags containing a powdery substance in a wooden box on a nightstand in the defendant’s bedroom. The contents tested positive for methamphetamine.
Morse is being held in the Sherburne County Jail. His next court appearance is at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 19.