RAY - A home invasion here ended in deadly gunfire after a Twin Cities area man, bloodied from a previous break-in down the road, was fatally shot after he assaulted the elderly homeowner at another house, authorities said.
Brian Beaudoin, 34, attacked Ethel Himes in her home near Ray and was shot by her son early Saturday morning, according to the Koochiching County Sheriff’s Office.
“I’m the son who did what had to be done,” said Brad Himes, 48, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Himes could not be reached for comment by the Timberjay and his mother, Ethel, declined comment.
Himes said his family had never met Beaudoin, who lives in Mendota Heights and was in the region to attend a wedding.
His mother is doing fine physically, according to Himes. “Bad things happen. We just want to get over it,” he told the Star Tribune.
Cory J. Rintala, pastor of Ray’s Northwoods Bible Church, said the town is still coming to grips with the violent episode in a typically tranquil community.
“It’s very sad,” said Rintala, who checked with Ray residents following Saturday’s incident to ensure they were all right. “But Brad did the right thing.”
Beaudoin had been at the church earlier that evening, Rintala speculated, because a basketball outside the church was missing. A basketball was later found in Beaudoin’s vehicle.
Prior to showing up at the Himes’ doorstep, Beaudoin broke into another home through a screen window at about 5:20 a.m. Homeowner Neil Reller grabbed a shotgun and struggled with Beaudoin, striking the intruder on the head several times with the gun so hard that the stock broke off the weapon.
The Rellers could not be reached for comment.
His face covered in blood, Beaudoin fled in his vehicle about eight miles to the southeast and showed up at the Himes’ home in the 5700 block of Hwy. 53. He told Ethel Himes that he had been assaulted. When Himes let Beaudoin inside, he threw her onto the living-room floor, choked her and beat her head on the floor.
Brad Himes came upon the struggle and went to his bedroom for a handgun. Beaudoin followed the son and lunged at him, prompting Brad Himes to shoot.
A sheriff’s deputy, on his way to the home of the Rellers, who reported the intruder, changed course to the Himes’ home after receiving another call. He gave first aid to Beaudoin, who died at the Rainy Lake Medical Center.
County Attorney Jeff Naglosky declined to comment on the incident while he awaits reports from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s office.
Alcoholism, mental illness
In a Facebook posting by Beaudoin’s sister, Brea Jennings, the family said that “in recent years Ben struggled with a type of mental illness that was never positively identified but that involved severe migraines and their powerful side effects.”
The posting said Beaudoin suffered a “traumatic brain injury as a teen” that combined with his alcoholism to “contribute in some ways” to his recent difficulties. On the morning of the home invasions, the family continued, “Ben had an episode that took over his mind and body. Under extreme paranoia … he entered the homes of two strangers, assaulted one of them, and was shot in self-defense.”
Beaudoin was in International Falls for a reception over the weekend with his girlfriend. He was staying at a resort on the Ash River Trail and reportedly got up about 3 a.m. and drove off alone.
Other than a few traffic violations, Beaudoin has only a minor alcohol-related offense in Minnesota, court records show.
He graduated from Princeton High School, and received an undergraduate degree in psychology from Bemidji State University, according to his funeral-home obituary. Beaudoin family members, in the Facebook statement, noted that “those in the homes are physically okay and we ask you to keep them in your hearts and prayers in the days ahead.”