Friends remember man who died in Moorhead incident

Published: Mar. 5, 2020 at 6:36 PM CST
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We now know the name of the man who died following an arrest in Moorhead Tuesday evening.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says 50-year-old Jeremy Robert Kelly died after officers were taking him into custody for outstanding felony warrants. They say Kelly started complaining of shortness of breath and soon lost consciousness.

He was taken to a local hospital where he later died.

"I don't have any words. I just can't believe that he's gone," one of Kelly's lifelong friends, Becky Rettig said.

The news of Jeremy Kelly's death is still raw for many of his friends and family— Missing the guy who would always pick up the phone if you were in need.

"Just the most amazing, kind guy, that would do anything for you without question, without reservation, without judgement. That's the way he always was," Larry Salzsieder said.

"He was that guy. You could call him for anything. He'll be there," Rettig said.

Both say it's no secret Kelly struggled with addiction and had run-ins with the law, but they say Kelly is also the man who helped dozens in the Valley overcome their addictions.

Kelly started the Fargo Moorhead Good Neighbor Project in 2015, providing clean needles and syringes, Naloxone training and support groups.

"The amount of impact that he gave on not only just addicts, but their families and the process of 'You're not alone.' If you are having a struggle or you just need somebody to be there, he's there," Rettig said.

"He was a good person. Everybody has a past. It doesn't define them," Salzsieder said.

The importance of providing those services and being an advocate for addicts is a message Kelly shared with Valley News Live back in 2016.

"We've got all these people hiding in the dark. They shouldn't be hiding because what they're doing is dangerous to begin with, but when you do it alone, it's way more dangerous," Kelly said.

Kelly also worked as a harm reduction specialist for the City of Fargo for almost five years—Work Rettig said was just one of the many reasons she is so proud to be his friend.

"Thousands of people were greatly affected by the benefits of Jeremy Kelly. That's for sure," Rettig said.

Kelly's cause and manner of death are pending toxicology testing and microscopic examination results.