Man Shoots Ex-Wife, Kills Self in Pine County

Updated: 12/06/2012 4:58 PM By: Leslie Dyste

A woman shot and wounded by her ex-husband before he took his own life was able to escape by barricading herself in the bathroom and texting her neighbor for help, a Pine County sheriff's official said Thursday.

The woman was shot in the upper chest by her ex-husband at her home in Brook Park Wednesday about 9 p.m., Chief Deputy Steven Blackwell said.

Deputies from the Pine County and Chisago County Sheriff's Department responded, established a perimeter around the house and tried repeatedly to reach the woman by phone, but got no response.

At one point, the man, identified as 55-year-old Daniel Shilts, came out of the residence, stood on the front deck, then went back inside, ignoring deputies' commands. A short time later his vehicle was found parked about a quarter mile away from the home, authorities said.

Blackwell said SWAT team members busted into the house with a flash-bang device to rescue the woman.

"We didn't know if he (shooter) was in there or not," the chief deputy said. The victim, identified by the Pine County sheriff's office as Dawn Christen, 55, was removed and rushed to St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth, where she was in serious condition.

Officers searched the house and found the suspect in the living room where he was holding a pistol to his head, sheriff's officials said.

For the next two hours sheriff's negotiators tried to convince Shilts to surrender. Blackwell said negotiators, protected by shields, were about 10 feet from the suspect when he shot himself.

Blackwell said the woman had visited the sheriff's department several weeks ago to ask about a restraining order. She was in the process of getting legal help, he said.

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