A man jailed in Watford City has been charged likely in connection to an officer-involved shooting that occurred last week in Alexander, but local officials won't confirm the suspect's name.
The Tribune confirmed with a source knowledgeable of the events of the shooting that Lonny Thomas Campbell was the man shot by McKenzie County sheriff's deputies.
Campbell, 42, of Alexander, is charged with felony terrorizing and misdemeanor simple assault. A redacted affidavit in his case says officers of the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office and North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation responded Wednesday to Alexander for a domestic assault, in which a woman said Campbell had struck and injured her.
The affidavit also said Campbell told officers to come into the home so he “could shoot the law enforcement officers.” He allegedly refused to exit the home and pointed a gun at least twice at officers, according to the affidavit, which does not mention a shooting.
McKenzie County Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger said he “can’t” confirm or deny Campbell is the man injured in the shooting, which involved multiple officers. He cited the active BCI review of the shooting.
Few details are available, but the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office previously reported the shooting occurred Wednesday night in Alexander as deputies responded to a domestic disturbance involving an armed, 42-year-old male suspect who sustained gunshot wounds.
In a jail photo, Campbell wears what appears to be a hospital gown. The sheriff said Thursday the injured man was jailed after hospitalization in Minot.
Meanwhile, McKenzie County State's Attorney Chas Neff Jr. motioned the judge to redact victim information “in the interest of justice,” as the woman is a domestic violence victim, who has also invoked her crime victim rights under Marsy’s Law.
But Neff’s motion also hints at something else.
“Given the potential for increased media attention given other facts of the case, this request is in the best interest of the victim,” Neff wrote.
Campbell is held at the McKenzie County Correctional Facility in Watford City, pending $150,000 cash bond. He is to have no contact with the woman.
Josh Winter, a gas plant operator who lives in Alexander with his wife and their 10- and 8-year-old children, said law enforcement was on scene for three or four hours a block away from his home near Alexander Public School's football field, where he said a helicopter landed to transport the injured man after the shooting.
Winter said he saw lights and later heard what sounded like a shotgun, followed by a cluster of gunshots about two hours later.
He said about five law enforcement vehicles and a K9 responded to the scene, which lasted three to four hours until midnight or 1 a.m. Thursday. Officers went door to door to neighbors, he said, and negotiated extensively at the scene.
"From my perspective, they did everything they could before it went the way it went," Winter said.
Sheriff Schwartzenberger did say the deputies involved in the shooting were placed on administrative leave last week, now on administrative duties until the BCI investigation completes. He declined to offer details regarding the officers, such as how many are involved.
“At this point in time, BCI is still going over the shoot with my officers, so I can’t comment on anything,” the sheriff said.
Neff also declined to comment on Campbell, as his criminal case is active.
“I would note that the complaint is merely an accusation at this point, and he is innocent until proven guilty,” Neff added.
The Tribune requested an interview with Campbell, which jail staff denied as Neff said the BCI agent on Campbell’s case is not authorizing interviews.
McKenzie County’s last officer-involved shooting was May 31, 2015, near Watford City, when a deputy fired four shots at a vehicle’s tires to disable the driver from striking him.