August 18, 1966: Police Officer Carl Root dies after attack

On this day in Duluth in 1966, the Duluth Police Department’s Sergeant Carl R. Root died from injuries suffered on the night of July 11. According to the Duluth News Tribune, Root had stopped a car along the West 100 block of Second Street, finding 19-year-old Roger E. Marholtz of Minneapolis and Duluthian Daniel Ray Bergstrom, who was 16, inside the car. Root must have ordered both boys out of the car, because reports say they then jumped him and severely beat the 51-year-old veteran with a tire iron before shooting him three times in the back with his own gun. For seven days Root held on, paralyzed after bullets hit his spinal column, gall bladder, and kidney. An autopsy later revealed his death the result of a blood clot blocking an artery to his lung. The newspaper also reported that both boys were apprehended in Minneapolis less than twenty hours after the shooting. Before Root died Marholtz and Bergstrom were charged as adults and both plead guilty to attempted first degree murder. They were sentenced to twenty years in prison, starting their terms at the St. Cloud Reformatory. If they had they plead not guilty, the charges would have changed to first degree murder after Root’s death, and if found guilty at trial both could have received a life sentence. Marholtz died in 2000; Bergstrom in 2008.