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Man in custody in suspicious Belcourt, N.D., death

BELCOURT, N.D. -- A man is in custody in Belcourt in connection with a suspicious death there last week and has been charged in tribal court, according to federal officials.

Belcourt is on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, where the federal court system has jurisdiction over serious crimes and tribal courts have jurisdiction over lesser crimes.

“It’s my understanding that tribal authorities lodged some charges in connection with the death,” said Timothy Purdon, U.S. Attorney for North Dakota. “We have an ongoing investigation as to whether there is a federal crime in this matter and we are working hard with our partners at the FBI and the (Bureau of Indian Affairs) to fully investigate whether there was a federal crime committed.”

Family members, friends and other sources in Belcourt identified the deceased man as Joel Sherman, 29, who has lived in Fargo — where he attended Fargo North High School — and Bismarck as well as Belcourt.

Law enforcement sources confirmed Sherman as the victim of Wednesday’s shooting.

Tribal officials have not confirmed the identities of the suspect.

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