WARSAW TOWNSHIP -- A heated argument over a skid loader that got stuck in mud turned deadly Thursday, Aug. 27, when a rural Cannon Falls man returned to the scene with a gun and killed his father, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday in Goodhue County District Court.
Cole Sidney DeGroot, 21, appeared in court on four felonies including one count of second-degree murder with intent/not premeditated. He is accused of shooting to death Terry John DeGroot, 55, also of rural Cannon Falls.
According to the criminal complaint:
DeGroot alerted Goodhue County Sheriff’s Dispatch himself at 5:01 p.m. Thursday, telling them to send an ambulance in five minutes because he was going to do “something stupid” and shoot his father, because he was “not going to put up with him” anymore, and hung up.
Dispatch later reached him and the defendant said he had already shot his dad.
Deputy Michael Ayres, who had developed a rapport with the younger DeGroot from previous law enforcement contacts, was able to reach him by phone, who shouted, “I’m done, I’m leaving” and again hung up.
When deputies reached 33811 County 24 Blvd., they took DeGroot into custody. He pointed Ayres in the direction of a skid loader and his father’s body.
The father and son had been clearing a debris-filled creek on someone else’s property when Cole DeGroot said he got the skid loader stuck. After his father berated him, DeGroot left on his bicycle, went to his father’s property at 32658 County 24 Blvd. in Stanton Township approximately three miles away, got a .45 handgun basement and returned to the worksite.
In an interview with investigators, DeGroot said he raised the handgun and pointed at his father who was seated in the skid loader that was no longer running.
Degroot stated that he only meant to scare his dad, but the handgun has a hair trigger and discharged. He stated that after the gun went off his father stated, “I’m dead.”
The shot entered the senior DeGroot’s abdomen and apparently stuck an artery, records show.
Cole DeGroot faces one count of second-degree murder with intent/not premeditated, one count second-degree murder without intent, one count second-degree manslaughter-culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk, and once count second-degree assault-dangerous weapon.
If convicted, DeGroot could face a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.
The Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were assisted at the scene by Cannon Falls Ambulance and Fire, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Goodhue County Attorney's and the Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office.