Weekend slaying of officer draws parallels to 1994 ambush

10:23 PM, May 2, 2010   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- As St Paul police searched for the two men who killed Officer Joseph Bergeron, many couldn't help but recall another day so much like it.

It was 1994 when officers Ron Ryan Jr. and Tim Jones lost their lives in much the same way: a routine call, an early morning ambush and a massive manhunt, similarities to Saturday the police chief calls "eerie."

"There were some real parallels," said St Paul Police Chief John Harrington.

That day 16 years ago is exactly what St Paul Officer David Longbehn thought of as he heard about Bergeron's shooting, asked on his day off to help search for the suspects. Longbehn says he felt compelled to come in, sensing he might be in for a fight.

"He had almost a kind of foreboding that he would find the suspect," Harrington said.

And he did. Standing guard just blocks from where Bergeron was killed, Longbehn saw suspect Jason Jones walk out of some woods. In moments Jones attacked him with a metal object, beating Longbehn so badly his eyes were swollen shut. Yet with a broken nose and septum, Longbehn fought Jones off, then drew his gun, and killed him.

"He knew he had to fight back and he did fight back," Harrington said. "He was not going to let this end the way the case in 1994 ended, and that he was commited to survive."

Longbehn did survive, but Jones' accomplice Joshua Martin was still hiding from police, until a tip call lead them to a St Paul apartment. There, with negotiators on the phone outside, Martin threatened to kill again.

"He was alternately suicidal, talking about ending it all, and homicidal, talking about going out in a blaze of glory," Harrington said.

Martin was instead arrested, and is cooperating with investigators, who still don't know whether he or Jones fired the fatal shot.

And, at a memorial where he died, Bergeron is remembered as an officer who died the way he lived: always helping others.

"I can't believe something like his happened," said Bergeron's friend Tony Evans. "He was that kind of guy you can't forget."

Both Martin and Jones have long criminal histories, and Jones was released from prison on a robbery conviction just six weeks ago.

Martin will likely be charged Monday, and police say they may also charge the people who helped hide him in the apartment.

Investigators are interviewing two fo Martin's relatives, who they think drove him to that building, and they could face charges of their own.

(Copyright 2010 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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