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Press Release

Red Lake Man Indicted for First Degree Murder, Assault with Intent to Murder in the Shooting Death of a Red Lake Tribal Police Officer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS – A federal grand jury returned an 11-count indictment against a Red Lake man for fatally shooting a Red Lake tribal police officer, assaulting with intent to murder four other officers, and firearms violations, announced Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk.

According to court documents, on July 27, 2021, officers with the Red Lake Tribal Police Department (“RLTPD”) responded to a call to conduct a welfare check on an armed man, David Brian Donnell, Jr., 28, at his residence in Redby, Minnesota. Five RLTPD officers responded to Donnell’s residence. Upon arrival, the officers found Donnell standing outside on the porch and attempted to have him walk towards the officers, but Donnell instead went inside the residence. Because Donnell had an active tribal warrant and was refusing to comply, the officers made the decision to breach the door. As soon as the door was breached, Donnell opened fire on the officers. Officer Ryan Bialke was immediately struck by gunfire through the front door and fell. Donnell continued shooting, firing several rounds from an Izhmash Saiga 7.62 caliber rifle at the four other officers on the scene. One RLTPD officer returned fire to allow the officers to escape into the woods. Donnell continued firing at the officers as they fled into the woods. Officer Bialke succumbed to his injuries and died on the scene. Donnell then fled the scene, taking the rifle with him. Shortly thereafter, officers arrested Donnell at a nearby residence.

Donnell is charged with one count of first-degree murder, four counts of assault with intent to commit murder, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of discharging, carrying, and using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and one count of possessing firearms as an unlawful controlled substance user.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force, the Red Lake Tribal Police Department, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melinda A. Williams and Joseph S. Teirab are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated October 7, 2021

Firearms Offenses
Indian Country Law and Justice
Violent Crime