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Reckless reporting from the Pioneer

First of all, to the family and friends of the deceased, I am very sorry for the loss of your loved one. My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time.

This past week we had a very unfortunate incident involving a suicidal man and many of our local law enforcement agencies including the local SWAT team.

This man had made numerous threats to harm himself or law enforcement officials throughout a four-hour standoff. He also fired many shots from a rifle, from either in or near the home he was occupying, putting many people into serious risk.

In the end, the SWAT team was called upon to take this man into custody and ultimately was forced to fire upon him.

This is where the irresponsible and reckless part comes into play. Although naming the member of the team that pulled the trigger is legal, it is extremely reckless and irresponsible on the part of the Bemidji Pioneer to do so almost immediately. For without this officer’s quick response, we could very well be burying one or more of our local heroes.

These men are heroes and deserve a little bit of respect from our local press. They have a job to do and they do it very well. Their names should not be slathered recklessly on the pages of the Pioneer, especially in a situation as serious as this one. This could affect how officers react in the future.

Although it may not have been your intent, you have put this man and his family at incredible risk. Now, instead of taking care of himself and his family after such a traumatic event, this man has to fear retaliation on himself and his family members from somebody that may be acting on pure emotion. Already there have been signs posted at the end of the road he lives on, calling him a murderer. Our local heroes do not deserve this kind of treatment. The team, not just one man, had a job to do and they did it, not because they wanted to, instead, because they had to.

While I appreciate your up-to-the-minute updates on serious situations in the Bemidji area, this time you took it too far, too quickly.

Dan Bokovoy