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Western Wis. shooting suspects arrested in Rice Lake after 2-state pursuit

Shawn Goplen, Kari Blank

The Red Wing man and Ellsworth woman sought in a western Wisconsin shooting case were arrested in Barron County, authorities announced Thursday.

A post on the Barron County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page said the suspects, previously identified as Red Wing resident Shawn Goplen and Ellsworth resident Kari Blank, where taken into custody at the Rice Lake Dollar General store.

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The Dunn County Sheriff’s Office said the pair was first pursued by Minnesota police on Wednesday night in Woodbury and elsewhere in south Washington County, where authorities followed a red Volkswagen Jetta into Wisconsin.

The pursuit was called off once the car got to Wisconsin's Pepin County. Goplen was believed to be the driver and Blank was the suspected passenger, according to Dunn County Sheriff Dennis Smith.

He said authorities received information on Thursday that Goplen and Blank were seen at the Rice Lake Dollar General store.

A red Jetta fled the scene once officers arrived there, Smith said. The Jetta initially got away, but later returned to the store, where Goplen and Blank were apprehended. They were being held Thursday at Dunn County jail.

Arrest warrants were issued for Goplen and Blank after a man, later identified as Colfax resident Bruce R. Sundstrom, 48, was found shot in the leg Sunday, May 27, in Dunn County’s town of Tainter. Dunn County authorities said earlier this week that the incident was being investigated as an attempted homicide case, though Sundstrom was expected to survive.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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