The North Dakota law enforcement community is mourning the tragic loss of Mercer County Sheriff’s Deputy Paul Martin, who was killed during a police chase on the night of December 6.
Shockingly, the suspect in the case was identified as Ian Cramer, son of North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer.
Ian Cramer, 42, stands accused of manslaughter, fleeing an officer and other charges related to the incident in Mercer County, North Dakota.
According to court records, a police pursuit of Cramer concluded in a crash that claimed the life of 53-year-old Deputy Martin, a respected 18-year veteran of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office.
Senator Cramer released a statement, revealing that his son suffers from serious mental disorders characterized by severe paranoia and hallucinations.
The tragic incident unfolded after Cramer fled the Sanford Health emergency room in Bismarck, where he was brought by his mother over concerns of mental health issues.
The Bismarck Police Department responded to reports of a damaged ambulance bay door at the Sanford emergency room, allegedly caused by Cramer.
Subsequently, a pursuit began when Cramer fled the scene in a stolen 2017 Black Chevy Tahoe.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol soon located Cramer in Hazen, leading to a pursuit.
During the chase, Cramer crashed head-on into an unoccupied Mercer County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle, behind which Deputy Martin had taken cover while laying a tire deflation device.
The impact of the crash pushed the patrol vehicle into Deputy Martin, resulting in his tragic death.
Cramer was taken into custody after the incident and transported to a hospital before being transferred to a detention center. His initial court appearance was scheduled on December 9.
Senator Cramer expressed grief for both the loss of the sheriff’s deputy and the struggles his family has faced, particularly referencing the death of his son, Isaac, in 2018.
The Mercer County community of Beulah, where Deputy Martin served, is grappling with the loss of a beloved officer.
Residents lined Highway 49 to honor the fallen deputy, who was described as a “beloved brother in law enforcement, a husband, father, and grandpa” by the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office in a post on Facebook.
“Our wound is raw, and our hearts are broken,” Sheriff Terry Ternes wrote.
Deputy Martin’s impact on the community extended beyond his law enforcement duties. Residents recalled positive interactions with him, citing his caring and helpful nature.
Governor Burgum has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff until Deputy Martin is laid to rest. As Beulah mourns the loss of their hometown hero, funeral arrangements for Deputy Martin are still pending.
The tragic incident marks the second time in less than five months that North Dakota has lost a police officer in the line of duty.