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Law enforcement: Fire set to lure police to scene

October 28, 2010
Kylie Saari — Staff Writer

FAIRMONT -Fairmont Police believe a house fire was set intentionally Tuesday evening to lure police to the scene.

Police made the announcement Wednesday and also disclosed the names of Officer Chad Sanow and civilian Matthew Von Watermulen, who were shot in an emergency situation that had area residents panicked and rumors flying.

After clearing the area of all civilians Tuesday evening, law enforcement searched the property at 415 Webster Street and found an unidentified body that is likely the shooter and arsonist, according to a police statement. The man appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His identity will be released today.

Article Photos

Officer Chad Sanow

Officer Chad Sanow was shot in the chest while approaching the home. A neighbor, identified as Matthew Von Watermulen, 28, was on the scene offering assistance. Von Watermulen was shot in the abdomen. Sanow and Von Watermulen were transported to Fairmont Medical Center, and Sanow was later transferred to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester.

Both men were listed in stable condition Wednesday.

Tears came to Lt. Del Ellis' eyes as he commended Officer Sanow for his years of dedicated service. Sanow has been with the Fairmont Police for six years.

"Officer Sanow went there to save lives," Ellis said, "and this gunman decided he wanted to kill a cop. ... This has rocked the law enforcement community. We all know the dangers of the job, but last night we faced a very grim situation, and our hats are off to Officer Sanow for doing such a great job. ... We are thrilled and thank the Lord he will be alright."

Sanow was wearing a bullet-proof vest when he was shot.

"The vest saved him, no doubt," said Ellis.

A law enforcement officer told Sentinel staff Sanow suffered a cracked sternum and serious bruising.

The Minnesota Bureau of Investigation is looking into the incident.

Assisting agencies include: Fairmont Police Department, Martin County Sheriff's Office, Truman Police Department, Sherburn/Welcome Police Department, Trimont Police Department, Fairmont Fire Department, Minnesota Fire Marshall's office, Welcome Fire Department, and Truman Fire Department.



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