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Mahnomen deputy's wife heard shooting events unfold

Mahnomen County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Dewey is comforted by his wife, Emily, on Saturday in a photo posted on Dewey's CaringBridge Web site. Special to Forum Communications

Emily Dewey heard everything last Wednesday. The 24-year-old nursing student was listening to the scanner, waiting for her husband, Mahnomen County Deputy Christopher Dewey, to get home that morning.

Christopher Dewey, 26, was late. He was still working a call regarding a possible drunken driver when he was gunned down just after 7 a.m.

His partner found him lying on the ground, shot once in the head and once in the abdomen. He was moving a bit and trying to speak. His partner called for help.

Emily Dewey heard it.

"She listened to this happen; she was listening to the scanner," family spokesman Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney said Monday. "She knew they were coming to tell her."

Emily was shaking when Mahnomen County Sheriff Doug Krier came to her door Wednesday, but since then she has been the rock anchoring family and friends, Laney said Monday.

The comments came during a news conference announcing the deputy had been upgraded to satisfactory condition from guarded condition.

The strong support system surrounding Christopher Dewey has likely aided in his miraculous recovery, said Dr. Robert Sticca, a general surgeon at MeritCare Hospital in Fargo.

"I would say (for) somebody who had a gunshot through their head, he is recovering ahead of pace," Sticca said.

Christopher Dewey has been able to stand with some assistance, although he has some weakness in his left leg, Sticca said.

The deputy has been eating and communicating with family, but still has limited function of his left arm, likely caused by the injury to the right side of his brain, the doctor said.

"He is well on his road to recovery," Sticca said, noting Christopher Dewey is still in a lot of pain. "He's out of danger at the present time, but he still has a long road ahead."

The deputy will need additional surgery because a portion of the bone covering his brain was shattered and parts were removed. He could leave the hospital this week, but he faces intensive therapy and most likely some permanent injuries and neurological deficits, Sticca said.

His biggest problem right now is pain, Sticca said.

A CaringBridge Web site updating the deputy's condition noted Monday that "Chris is speaking more and with more clarity today," and his left side continues to improve, according to a 4:51 p.m. posting. More than 58,000 visits were logged on the site as of Monday night.

Christopher Dewey remembers what happened, but "we're certainly not grilling him and asking for specifics at this point," Laney said, adding that the deputy has joked "that he should have ducked."

Two men, Thomas Fairbanks and Daniel Vernier, face a combined 39 charges in connection with the confrontation with Dewey that was followed by a nearly nine-hour standoff with law enforcement.

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.


How to help

A fund to help the family of Christopher Dewey has been established. Donations can be sent to the First National Bank of Mahnomen, c/o Deputy Chris Dewey, PO Box 378, 103 N. Main St., Mahnomen, MN 56557.

To visit the CaringBridge Web site, visit and type in "chrisdewey."