Wis. deputy laid to rest 23 years after shooting - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Wis. deputy laid to rest 23 years after shooting

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Hundreds of mourners filled the chairs and bleachers at St. Croix Falls High School to pay final respects to a Polk County Sheriff's Deputy who was shot in the line of duty 23 years ago.

Mike Seversen, 50, had been confined to a wheelchair ever since the bullet severed his spine.

On April 19, 1991 he and other officers responded to apprehend a 25-year-old man who was suspected of shooting a man in North Branch the day before.

The man was spotted walking and holding a handgun. When Seversen and a Burnette County deputy confronted the man, he shot both of them, killing Deputy Allan Albee and critically wounding Seversen.

"Mike was not a former member of the department," Polk County Sheriff Pete Johnson told mourners. "Mike was still a deputy with the Polk County Sheriff's Office … People have always commended us and our department on how we kept Mike part of that, but, as I look at it, I think Mike did as much for us as we ever did for him."

There was humor from the sheriff about Seversen's devotion to the department from his wheelchair.

"Three years ago, when I decided to change the striping package on the squad cars and apparently, I was supposed to clear it with Mike," Johnson said to laughs, "and he wasn't real fond of it initially."

And there were moments that choked up even the hardened officers of his department. Johnson almost broke down in closing his eulogy.

"To Mike, I say farwell, brother. Rest in peace. You've served your community well."

The outpouring of support from so many in the law enforcement community, including the iconic parade of police car escorts, surprised his family so many years after the shooting.

"Twenty-three years later you would think it would drop off a little bit, but he made an incredible impact on a lot of people," said Jayne Wellumson, Seversen's sister. "And it is just fun, and it is just a privilege for us to be able to see that and be part of this day, too."

Seversen was laid to rest next to his parents in the graveyard of the Kost Evangelical Free Church east of North Branch.
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