The Big Lake man who held first responders at bay for hours while his home erupted in flames has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Sherburne County Sheriff Joel Brott.
Kurt Beucler, 58, owned a popular barbershop in Osseo, about a half hour drive from his Big Lake home. The home burned to the ground Monday, April 3 after authorities say Beucler used five-gallon pails of gasoline to start the residence on fire. When Big Lake Fire Department firefighters arrived on scene, they found Beucler in the yard with a gun. Due to the nature of the scene, firefighters chose to save surrounding structures while the home burned.
The standoff lasted more than two hours – from about 9:30, when the fire was reported, until about 11:40 a.m. That’s when Beucler, who had walked to the end of his dock on the Mississippi River and to other places around the yard near his home, knelt by a tree and shot. He was rushed by ambulance to CentraCare Hospital in Monticello, where he died hours later.
Wright County Sheriff’s deputies cleared out Mississippi Drive in Monticello during the altercation. Onlookers had to leave Swan Park and other areas when it was learned that Beucler had a gun.
Some exploding ammunition – Beucler was an avid hunter and owned a hunting dog – caused concern at the site, too, first responders said.
Friends and family told WCCO they’re not sure what prompted the man, a third-generation owner and operator of George’s Barbershop in Osseo, to do what he did. Witnesses said Beucler did go through a divorce in recent months, but wasn’t public about it.
WCCO, the CBS station in the Twin Cities, talked to neighbors and clients at George’s Barbershop in Osseo. Here’s the report.