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Bemidji man accused of chase, squad car theft in Becker County found not guilty by reason of mental illness

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. -- A Bemidji man accused of leading police on a chase after stealing wine from a liquor store and then a deputy’s squad car has been found not guilty by reason of mental illness.

Ty Justin Andree, 24, was charged with six felonies and a misdemeanor in the March incident in rural Becker County. Authorities said he took sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase before charging toward them with a stolen shotgun and stealing one of the squad cars, then taking them on a second chase.

Andree opted for a court trial, overseen by District Court Judge Jay Carlson.

Two independent licensed professionals concluded that Andree was “laboring under a defect of reason due to mental illness.”

One of them, psychiatric resident Gavin Meany, issued a report stating that Andree appeared to be struggling under an episode of acute psychotic disorder that included auditory hallucinations beginning around December 2013 and continuing through the March incident.

Psychologist Nancy Hein Kolo also submitted a report that indicated Andree had written nonsensical messages on the walls of his cabin before the incident, believed he had a chip in his head and that he was a prophet.

The report also stated that Andree said he heard voices that told him he was an angel and needed to kill himself to fight demons.

Andree said he stole two bottles of wine from a Detroit Lakes-area liquor store because he decided to get drunk, believing it was going to be his last day on Earth.

Regarding the moment when Andree got out of his vehicle with a shotgun and walked toward the deputies and their squad car, Andree also stated that he did so because he “wanted the officers to kill him.”

According to the complaint filed in Becker County District Court, Andree shouted to the officers, “I’m gonna point this gun at you and shoot you! I’m gonna take your car! Just shoot me!”

The two deputies — one from Becker County and one from Hubbard County — did not fire on Andree, but rather took cover behind one of the squad cars. They did fire on the car as he drove away.

Andree was judicially committed to a mental health institution shortly after his arrest. He is subject to commitment proceedings in the future but is currently undergoing what is referred to as “aftercare.”

That can range from an extended care facility to mental health care at home.

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