Grand Forks, ND – Grand Forks Police Department (GFPD) Officer Cody Holte was murdered in the line of duty on Wednesday after he ran into gunfire to help save a wounded deputy.
The incident began at approximately 2:24 p.m., when Grand Forks Sheriff’s Office (GFSO) Sergeant Kelly McLean and Corporal Ron Nord responded to an apartment complex at 2627 South 17th Street to serve eviction papers on 41-year-old Salamah Pendleton and 61-year-old Lola Moore, Grand Forks County Sheriff Andrew Schneider said during a press conference on Thursday.
The eviction was court-ordered to be carried out anytime after 11:59 p.m. on May 24.
When the uniformed deputies knocked on the front door of Pendleton and Moore’s apartment, they did not receive an answer, Sheriff Schneider said.
They ultimately entered the residence and spotted Pendleton run into a bedroom and out of sight.
The deputies repeatedly ordered the suspect to come out of the room, but he refused.
As they opened the door to confront him, they were suddenly “overtaken by heavy gunfire, Sheriff Schneider said.
Cpl. Nord suffered gunshot wounds to the abdomen and upper leg before the deputies were able to retreat from the doorway.
They immediately radioed for backup.
Officer Holte, 29, and GFPD Corporal Patrick Torok raced to their aid and immediately ran into the apartment to help their fellow officers, GFPD Chief Mark Nelson said during the press conference on Thursday.
They exchanged gunfire with Pendleton “in multiple volleys,” hitting him with numerous rounds, Chief Nelson said.
Officers then rendered aid to the gunman, who was transported to Altru Hospital.
Moore was fatally shot during the exchange of gunfire and pronounced dead at the scene.
Officers desperately rendered aid to Officer Holte, who had been shot multiple times, before they carried him out of the apartment to a waiting ambulance.
He and Cpl. Nord were rushed to Altru Hospital, where Officer Holte succumbed to his wounds.
The wounded corporal is in stable condition, Chief Nelson said.
The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation is assisting the GFSO, the GFPD, and the Grand Forks County State’ Attorney’s Office with the ongoing investigation into the fatal shooting, KVRR reported.
Officer Holte graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with degrees in military service and criminal justice before he joined the GFPD over three years ago, according to the Grand Forks Herald.
He also served in the North Dakota National Guard, and was a member of the Grand Forks Sheriff’s Office Regional Water Rescue Team, Chief Nelson said.
“There’s a hole in my heart that can never be plugged,” Chief Nelson said during a press conference on Wednesday. “These people wear a badge, these people protect your community, these people ask for nothing in return other than an honest salary.”
“Remember, it is not how this officer died, it is how this officer lived that made him a true hero,” Chief Nelson added.
Officer Holte leaves behind his wife of four years, as well as his 10-month-old son, the Grand Forks Herald reported.
The GFPD station was lit up with blue lights on Wednesday night in honor of the fallen officer, KFGO reported.
Meanwhile, hundreds of mourners gathered outside the hospital for a candlelight vigil for all three shooting victims.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Grand Forks Police Department Officer Cody Holte, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Officer Cody Holte, your life mattered.