Stray bullet hits Dakota County sheriff’s house

Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie and his family got an unwelcome surprise on Saturday, Jan. 28. 

In the early hours of the morning, Leslie’s daughter woke up to the sound of glass breaking. Leslie said she looked out of the window and didn’t see anything.

“Later in the morning when she was up for good she said, ‘Dad, did you hear that last night?’” Leslie said, adding that he hadn’t heard anything.

He went to investigate and saw the hole in her window, up rather high. Leslie said he then saw a bullet on the carpet in his daughter’s room, which he described as very alarming.

“Being sheriff and an elected official, you worry about people taking out their issues with law enforcement in a personal manner on me, so I was worried,” Leslie said. 

While Leslie and his family were shaken, no one in the home was injured. 

Leslie said he requested Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents, who know how to investigate these types of incidents, handle the case to make sure he wasn’t jumping to the wrong conclusions.

The agents concluded the bullet that struck Leslie’s home was likely related to the sound of gunfire several blocks away. At roughly 4 a.m., residents had reported they were awakened by four or five gunshots. The gunshots were believed to have been coming from an area near Highway 13 and Sylvandale Road in Mendota Heights, but the exact location was unknown.

The BCA determined that the bullet that struck Leslie’s home was coincidentally related to the other shots fired.

“Anyone in the neighborhood could have had their house hit; it just happened to hit my house,” Leslie said.

When the bullet pierced the window, it was “tumbling.” He explained that a bullet spins like a football out of a gun barrel. By the time it was coming down, it was tumbling and made a bigger hole in the window than it would have if it had been fired from a nearby location.

The bullet fell on the floor instead of lodging in an opposite wall, which a bullet shot at close range would have done.

“It was shot probably into the air by some idiot that was being irresponsible,” Leslie said.

The agents concluded there was no ongoing or continual threat to Leslie or anyone else in the neighborhood, and there were no reported injuries as a result of the gunshots.

The BCA recovered the bullet and will continue investigating the negligent gun firing.

Leslie said the BCA is seeking help from the public to find the culprit.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the BCA at 651-793-7000.


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