Farmer held Sheyenne bar murder suspect at gunpoint until deputies arrived, authorities say

Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 1:46 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 22, 2023 at 5:01 PM CST
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SHEYENNE, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The “extremely dangerous” man at the center of a nearly three-day manhunt has been arrested Wednesday. 45-year-old Nicholas Poitra was apprehended around noon Wednesday on a county road in Eddy County, according to law enforcement.

45-year-old Nicholas Poitra is now behind bars at the Lake Region Law Enforcement Center in Devils Lake. He’s accused of shooting and killing 30-year-old Troyal Thumb on Feb. 19 at Rindy’s Sheyenne Bar in Sheyenne, ND. Poitra has since been formally charged with a laundry list of offenses including murder and seven counts of terrorizing.

Valley News Live has confirmed a local farmer spotted Poitra walking near his farm, and held him at gunpoint until police arrived. The farmer declined to comment on his heroic act, but said he’s glad the situation is over and hopes for closure for the family.

Court documents say Thumb and Poitra exchanged words at the bar before Poitra fired a short-barrel shotgun. After the shooting, Poitra went around the bar and pointed the firearm at two victims while he grabbed the security camera footage that was plugged in. Documents say Poitra then pointed the shotgun at the five victims left in the bar and demanded they turn over their cell phones, as well as told two of the victims to give him their car keys. Poitra went out the back door and stole a 2013 Ford Explorer.

The Eddy County Sheriff’s Office says, along with the Minot SWAT team, the stolen Explorer was located on February 20 near a Wells County farmstead. Authorities say when they searched the home, it appeared Poitra had been inside and may have rummaged through the owner’s firearms. The farmstead was unoccupied by the owner at the time.