Kurt Beucler, a 58-year-old Big Lake man died Monday afternoon following an incident at his residence on 180th Avenue in Big Lake Township, according to a release by the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating the cause of death.
Beucler was the subject of a nearly two-hour standoff in which the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Department and the Big Lake Police Department tried to bring to a peaceful end.
Big Lake Fire was called to a house fire at his residence about 9:43 a.m. on Monday, April 3.
Crews from the Big Lake Fire Department arrived to find a fully engulfed home in the 19400 block of 180th Avenue in Big Lake Township. As first responders made their way around to the back of the home they encountered a man holding a handgun who warned the firefighters to leave. He had reportedly been on a dock at the edge of the property watching the house burn.
Officers from the Big Lake Police Department and the Sherburne County Sheriff’s office immediately responded to the home where they encountered the subject in the back yard of the burning home along the banks of the Mississippi River.
Big Lake Fire battled a house fire while law enforcement dealt with the standoff.
Officers attempted communication for nearly 2 hours.
At 1140 a.m. officers reported the man had shot himself during attempted negotiations.
Paramedics immediately rendered aid and the subject was transported by ambulance to Monticello Hospital with life-threatening wounds.
Neighbors, who heard sounds of exploding ammunition when the house was on fire, said the man had recently gotten divorced.
Capt. Dan Anselment with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office said Sherburne County law enforcement officials asked his agency to keep observers away from the area on the Wright County side of the Mississippi River. “They wanted us to get all of the onlookers off the shoreline,” Anselment said. “That’s the only request we had for assistance.
The house was destroyed in the fire but neighboring homes were protected from catching on fire, the sheriff’s department reported.
Traffic and bystanders were kept at a distance from the standoff, but residents along the block could be seen watching the scene unfold from their driveways.
Big Lake Fire was assisted by Elk River and Monticello fire departments.
A state fire marshal was on the scene after the standoff came to a conclusion, and began his investigation once utility crews were able to secure the site from further danger.