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Update: Woman Improving after Pine Co. Shooting

Posted at: 12/06/2012 6:23 PM
Updated at: 12/07/2012 4:01 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
manderson@wdio.com

Authorities said Friday afternoon that the woman shot by her ex-husband during an attempted murder-suicide case is improving and is stable.

The Wednesday night shooting in Pine County left Dawn Christen in serious condition at St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth. Her ex-husband allegedly shot her in the chest before fatally turning the gun on himself.

It was 9:15 p.m. on Wednesday when Christen, 55, sent a text to her neighbor reading, "He's here he shot me get help. Please hurry." The neighbor immediately called 9-1-1.

"There was a history between these two that was familiar to the neighbor who called," said Pine County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Steve Blackwell. "She made that aware to the deputies."

Arriving at Christen's home in rural Pine County, police found her barricaded in a bathroom with a gunshot wound to the chest. Her ex-husband, Daniel Shilts, 55, had broken in a rear door before she had arrived home that night. According to authorities, Shilts then confronted Christen, shot her in the chest, and stayed in the house.

"They encountered him somewhere in the house, we don't know at what point," said Chief Deputy Blackwell. "But he ended up in a living room lying on a couch with a gun to his head."

For two hours police negotiated with Shilts in the living room before he pulled the trigger, taking his own life. Chief Deputy Blackwell said Christen had been in the Pine City Sheriff's Office just weeks before the shooting and asked about a restraining order against Shilts.

"She was very afraid that if she got this restraining order, it would escalate him into further actions," said Chief Deputy Blackwell.

The restraining order had not been processed, but according to Christen's neighbor, she had posted "No Trespassing" signs on her driveway dated 11/21/12, in hopes to keep Shilts out.

Chief Deputy Blackwell said they don't know if Shilts knew about the pending restraining order.