Grand Forks police version of events leading up to Altru parking lot shooting riddled with holes  

by Timothy Charles Holmseth on March 5, 2015 at 2:21 a.m.

Detailed analysis of the statements made by spokesmen for the UND Police, Grand Forks Police Department (GFPD), and Grand Forks Sheriff’s Department (GFSD), reveals a disturbing pattern of inconsistencies and anomalies.

The examples are numerous; the implications far-reaching.

UND Police Chief Eric Plummer says the high-speed chase that led to David James Elliot being shot by UND Police Officer Jerad Braaten in the Altru hospital parking lot began in a different county.

But Plummer won’t say what county he is referring to.

One possible reason for Plummer’s reluctance to name the county may be the lack of any official record at the county’s sheriff’s office of a vehicle pursuit passing through the county.

Lt. Dwight Love, GFPD, insists that the two encounters the GFPD had with David Elliot, within only two hours time, stem from different events and circumstances, and insists there was a meaningful break in between.

The break in between appears to be an attempt by the GFPD to distance itself from something that occurred during the two hours. Or alternatively, an attempt to obfuscate facts and circumstances surrounding its role in what occurred from the very beginning.

Grand Forks County Sheriff Bob Rost says “a couple” of his deputies were involved in the pursuit “in town”. However, Rost’s claims of limited involvement “in town” directly conflict with Love’s statement that the GFSD and North Dakota Highway Patrol were both ‘following’ David Elliot outside of Love’s jurisdiction.

The fact that law enforcement took several days before issuing any details of the David Elliot vehicle pursuit and shooting, while exchanging notes and getting well prepared, before finally holding a press conference, only adds to the scrutiny now being applied to the bizarre statements they all made. 

From the beginning, Chief Plummer said the event began in another county.

“It was initially initiated outside of our county, ended up coming within Grand Forks County, within the city and outside of the city,” said Plummer, flanked by GFPD Police Chief Mark Nelson and Sheriff Rost during a joint press conference.

During the first press conference a news reporter asked, “Do you know the other counties? Was it Polk County (Minnesota)?”

“I do not have that information,” Plummer said.

It is very odd that Plummer could factually state it was “initially initiated outside of our county” but not know specifically what county it was.

Plummer’s assertion that the pursuit started “outside of our county” is particularly odd, because it is common knowledge that the first pursuit of David Elliot began on Friday, February 27, 2015, in Grand Forks at 10:40 p.m. near the Wells Fargo Bank on Columbia Road as result of a 911 call reporting a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot.

That location is within Grand Forks County.

During the press conference a news reporter asked, “Were there any other law enforcement agencies involved – if there were multiple counties involved?”

“I’m not aware of the other agencies that are involved other than what happened when he (David Elliot) came into Grand Forks County,” Plummer said.

Plummer’s response does not make any sense.

Plummer’s response is odd and seemingly evasive, because he appears to engage in double-speak. He acknowledges he knows of “the other agencies” that were involved while they were in Grand Forks County.

But then his memory gets bad.

While Plummer claims to know the event/pursuit/situation “initially initiated outside of our (Grand Forks) county” he claims he does not know what county, or what agencies were involved.  

Plummer’s statements in this regard are simply not believable.


During the second press conference, Lt. Love wanted to make it clear there were two separate events involving vehicle pursuits of David Elliot.  

“Two separate pursuits – two separate incidents – and were talking about two separate things right now. One is the suspicious person in the parking lot, okay, so the officers were dealing with that information – and then two hours later it was the suicidal subject,” Love said.

Love’s reference to the “suspicious person in the parking lot” is in regards to the 911 call made on Friday, February 27, 2015, at 10:40 p.m. to report a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot of Wells Fargo Bank on Columbia Road in Grand Forks.

The 911 call resulted in police officers approaching the “suspicious vehicle”. The first pursuit of David Elliot ensued shortly thereafter, after, according to GFPD officers, he disobeyed a stop sign and then refused to stop for officers.

Spokesmen claim a GFPD supervisor called off the first pursuit after the speeds became dangerous and a threat to public safety.

Love draws a sharp distinction between the “suspicious person in the parking lot” and the “suicidal subject”.

Love wants it clear these are two separate events.

Love places a ‘finish line’ at the moment he says the supervisor called off the pursuit of the “suspicious person in the parking lot”.

Then – two hours later - the second pursuit of David Elliot by the GFPD begins.

According to Love, there is a new starting line.

This will be the GFPD pursuit of the “suicidal subject”.

“About two hours later that same vehicle was reported to police as a welfare check – possible suicidal subject – they came back into town – where it attempted to strike an officer attempting to make a traffic stop,” Love said.

Love said he could not disclose how the police were advised that David Elliot was possibly “suicidal”.

Then Love said something quite amazing.

“I certainly wish I could tell you why we believed he was suicidal. But I think that would affect the investigation moving forward. If you give it a couple of days I’m sure that will come out. But rest assured that was something we were privy to, and that’s why we attempted to stop that vehicle,” Love said.



The GFPD were pursuing David Elliot’s vehicle during the second pursuit because he was “suicidal”? 


Love is stating on the record that the GFPD was only attempting to stop David Elliot (or this particular vehicle) because they had been advised the driver/David Elliot was suicidal?

Is that realistic?

It appears the GFPD is asserting on the record that they had no contact whatsoever with David Elliot, or any awareness of him following the termination of the first pursuit, until they suddenly received a report of a “suicidal subject” in a vehicle that just happened to be David Elliot?

Other than that the GFPD simply forgot about him?

According to Love, David Elliot had already fled GFPD officers once in a dangerous high speed chase through town. He had violated several laws, including reckless endangerment, speeding, and eluding.

Why wouldn’t the GFPD now simply be pursuing David Elliot for the litany of criminal violations he already committed before they finally called off the first pursuit in the interest of public safety?

Love claims that during the second pursuit, the GFPD’s only interest in David Elliot was information they “were privy to” that he might be “suicidal”.

This sudden change in attitude by the GFPD, immediately following the near-fatal shooting of an allegedly un-armed man, demands close scrutiny. 

Why would the GFPD believe they need to offer an alternative explanation for why they were pursuing David Elliot, when they supposedly had plenty of charges they could already bring against him stemming from the first pursuit?


Taking at face value the GFPD’s assertion that a supervisor called off the first pursuit of David Elliot, the fact remains that Elliot continued on to somewhere for the next two hours.

Several statements by Love indicate he may know exactly what was going on after GFPD officers lost physical sight of David Elliot – he just doesn’t want to talk about it.

“What happened outside of our jurisdiction I really don’t feel comfortable talking about. I do know that the Highway Patrol and Grand Forks Sheriff’s Department, they were involved in following this individual – I don’t know what the speeds were or the situation, but once it entered into the city of Grand Forks then our officers got involved,” Love said.  

You will recall that Sheriff Rost said his officers were only involved “in town”.

So much for that.

Now – recall this statement by Love. This is what he said happened after the first pursuit was terminated.

“About two hours later that same vehicle was reported to police as a welfare check – possible suicidal subject – they came back into town – where it attempted to strike an officer attempting to make a traffic stop,” Love said.


If Love knew David Elliot left town following the first pursuit, and was being followed around by the GFSD and Highway Patrol, he is not telling the truth when he suggests there was a break between the “suspicious person in the parking lot” and the “suicidal subject”.

There is also evidence that demonstrates Love did in fact know exactly what was going on the whole time.


During the press conference a news reporter asked Love if there was any communication with David Elliot after the first pursuit was terminated.

Love confirmed that there was.

“There was communication by a couple of different ways, and again, I can’t go into the specifics about that but there was some contact with him,” Love said.


Did Love know David Elliot left town following the first pursuit and was followed around for the next two hours through still unidentified counties?

Did Love then attend a press conference and attempt to convince the public otherwise?

It matters – here’s why.

With the passing of just a couple of hours, David Elliot, a man with no apparent criminal record, originally wanted by the GFPD for running a stop sign was suddenly deemed “suicidal”.

Not only that - he was deemed ‘homicidal’ because he has now allegedly attempted “to strike an officer attempting to make a traffic stop”.


On February 28, 2015, at approximately 12:45 a.m., David Elliot was shot near the emergency room at Altru Hospital.

He was shot in the face.

His wife, Jennifer Elliot, says he was un-armed and the police knew he was un-armed.

He has not been charged with any crime.

There is no guard at his hospital door.

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