WARREN, Minn.-An elderly Minnesota man who fired at a mail carrier and sheriff's deputy at his home in March was killed by an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol, according to an investigation by the state.
A report on the March 20, 2017, shooting death of 73-year-old Clarence Duane Huderle obtained from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension shows the unidentified Border Patrol agent is a member of the Pine to Prairie Drug Task Force. The Polk County Attorney's Office ruled the shooting was justified.
Huderle fired on a mail carrier who arrived at his home at 15872 410 Ave. N.W., just south of Warren on the morning of March 20. When Polk County Deputy Kyle Olson responded to the scene, Huderle fired on him, too, striking Olson's marked agency vehicle, according to the report.
Law enforcement from across the region responded, including the Grand Forks Regional SWAT team.
One of the first to respond was a Border Patrol agent assigned to the drug task force, a regional narcotics unit in northwest Minnesota. He told investigators he positioned himself on the north side of Huderle's property and said he heard over the radio that Huderle had fired at Olson and that Huderle then drove his Chevrolet Silverado across his property.
Ballistics processing on Olson's squad vehicle showed a bullet entered the front passenger window, went through the passenger headrest and through the rear seat. The bullet was recovered in the vehicle.
The agent said he moved closer and got a line of sight on Huderle, who he said was pointing a rifle in Olson's direction.
He said he recalled firing six to eight rounds at Huderle with a semi-automatic rifle with a scope. He missed his first two shots, repositioned himself and fired another burst of shots at Huderle. He told investigators he saw Huderle turn around and raise his rifle, then ducked and lost sight of him.
BCA agents collected 12 shell casings from the area around the agent's vehicle.
Minnesota officials declined to identify the agent, claiming his role in the narcotics task force puts him in undercover situations. Undercover agents are exempt from being identified under Minnesota law.
Huderle died of a gunshot wound that entered in the neck and went into the chest, according to an autopsy conducted by the University of North Dakota Pathology lab. He was shot three times total, all on the left side of the body.
Huderle's wife told investigators he suffered from dementia, which had grown worse since an operation a year and a half earlier. She told them Huderle had developed some paranoia, did not like traffic on their rural road and refused to leave their yard. Huderle was a Vietnam War veteran.
The morning he was killed, she had gone to get him a new dog, which she hoped would help with his dementia.
She said he was a gun enthusiast and hunter, and he would shoot targets in the yard. She thought he might have been shooting at squirrels at the north end of their property that morning, near where the mail carrier's vehicle was struck by a bullet.
Deputy Olson went to the scene after a call from mail carrier Richard Grega. Grega had visited the address to see if the home had any outgoing mail, according to a report. The mail flag was not up, and he began to drive away. When he was about 100 yards from the home he heard a boom, followed by a louder boom. His rear window was shattered. He sped off, called his boss and contacted authorities.
Olson told investigators he met with Grega and his supervisor near Huderle's property, and initially approached thinking someone shooting targets accidentally struck the car. When he approached, Olson said he saw Huderle take a rifle from his truck and then point it directly at him. Olson put his car in reverse.
A Remington Gamemaster Model 760 .243 caliber rifle with a Burris scope was located next to Huderle's body. He had multiple rounds of ammunition and additional magazines in the pockets of his jeans, lab reports state.
Two spent .243 shell casings were collected in Huderle's yard near the deck, the BCA found.
Another rifle, a 17HMR with a Pine Ridge scope, was located in the bed of Huderle's pickup.
The Border Patrol agent, through his attorney Peter Wold, declined to provide a blood sample to BCA investigators, according to the report, and said they would only submit one if a search warrant was produced. The BCA declined to obtain a search warrant because the agent "was not displaying any indications that he was under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances."
The agent did not have a record of use of force complaints and had no record of officer-involved shootings.