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Second man charged in Cass Lake Laduke shooting

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Second man charged in Cass Lake Laduke shooting
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Anthony Francis Cree, 23, of Cass Lake, was charged Thursday in Cass County District Court with felony first-degree attempted murder and felony second-degree attempted intentional murder in relation to the March 4 shooting of Amos Ervin Laduke in the Tract 34 area of Cass Lake.

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William Earl Morris was originally charged March 8 with first-degree attempted murder, two counts of second-degree attempted intentional murder and first-degree assault causing great bodily harm in relation to the Laduke shooting.

Judge John Smith set Cree's bail at $250,000 with conditions. Cree and Morris remained in Cass County Jail as of Thursday afternoon. Morris is scheduled to make his next court appearance Monday, March 22.

The victim is being treated at an unidentified area hospital for serious, but not life-threatening, injuries. The child he was carrying during the shooting was not injured.

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 HIS 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 semi-automatic hand gun 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 shooting at him with a handgun. Laduke was shouting at the shooter not to shoot the child. At length, 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.

During the investigation, officers learned that the vehicle the shooter jumped out of was a 1999 Buick, in which Cree has often been observed as a passenger. The car was found abandoned at a boat landing near Cass Lake. It was registered to a woman who said it had been sold to Cree a few months ago. She said she knows Cree doesn't have a driver's license and generally rides as a passenger in the car.

Cree was arrested in Hennepin County after a warrant was issued on the Cass County Charges.

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, Cree faces the maximum penalty of not more than 20 years in prison for first-degree attempted murder and not more than 20 years for second-degree attempted intentional murder. According to Minnesota statute, a person is liable for a crime by another if the person "intentionally aids, advises, hires, counsels or conspires with or otherwise procures the other to commit the crime."

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.

The investigation continues under the direction of the Cass County Sheriff's Office, Leech Lake Tribal Police Department and other area law enforcement agencies.

Cass County Attorney Christopher Strandlie is prosecuting the cases.

Y mmiron@bemidjipioneer.com

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Pioneer staff reports
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