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Cass Lake man charged with attempted murder

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A 21-year-old man was charged in Cass County District Court Monday with four felony counts in relation to a Thursday afternoon shooting in Tract 34 in the Cass Lake area.

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William Earl Morris of Cass Lake was charged with first-degree attempted murder, two counts of second-degree attempted intentional murder and first-degree assault causing great bodily harm.

Morris remained in the Cass County Jail Monday afternoon. The victim, Amos Ervin Laduke, 31, of Cass Lake, was airlifted to St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth. His condition was unavailable Monday.

According to the criminal complaint:

At about 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 4, Cass County authorities were notified of a shooting at the junction of Cass County Road 60 and Broken Arrow Lane in Tract 34 of Cass Lake. Cass County Sheriff's deputies and Leech Lake Tribal Police found that Laduke had been shot multiple times in the back. At the Cass Lake IHS Hospital, Laduke said he had been walking with a 5-year-old when a car pulled up and stopped. He said a person he didn't recognize jumped out and began shooting at him. He said he did recognize one of the other men in the car.

Hospital staff members said Laduke had been shot at least three times, and a 40-caliber bullet from a semiautomatic handgun was recovered.

A witness said he had pulled up to the intersection in a vehicle and saw the shooting take place. The witness said he saw Laduke running, carrying the child, with the shooter chasing Laduke and continuing to shoot at him with a handgun. Laduke was shouting at the shooter not to shoot the child. Witnesses said Laduke collapsed and the shooter ran off.

The witness took Laduke and the child to the Cass Lake hospital and called 911 on the way.

The suspect, identified as Morris, was arrested running along a Tract 34 road. A deputy with a K9 backtracked from the site of the arrest and found clothing witnesses said the shooter had been wearing and a pair of latex gloves. The tread pattern on Morris' shoes matched the tracks in the snow. Also recovered were six shell casings.

If convicted, Morris faces a maximum penalty of not more than 20 years in prison on each of first-degree attempted murder, and the two counts of second-degree attempted murder, and 20 years and a $30,000 fine on the first-degree assault.

Y mmiron@bemidjipioneer.com

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