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The day Curt Felt died

In the July 3, 1978 edition of what was then called the Lake Region Echo, several articles were written about Douglas County Sheriff Deputy Curt Felt, who was shot and killed in the line of duty. (Lowell Anderson / Echo Press)

On June 29, 1978, Deputy Curt Felt was called in from road duty to transport a prisoner to the jail in Fergus Falls as Douglas County was in the process of building a new jail.

According to a page within the Douglas County Sheriff's Office website — "In Memory - the Curt Felt Story" — here's what happened:

It all began when James Kroupa was picked up by an Alexandria police officer a year earlier and charged with driving under the influence. He was found guilty of the charge and ordered to pay a fine. When he failed to do so, Kroupa was then ordered to appear in court on June 29.

Kroupa was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Kroupa, who at the time had four guns in his possession, left the courtroom. Two guns were tucked in his belt, one in a boot and the other in his coat.

When Felt arrived to take him to jail, Kroupa started shooting, then fled the building. Felt was able to walk a few feet to an office.

Alexandria Police Officer Steven Caye spotted Kroupa's vehicle and a chase began. Kroupa shot at least five rounds at the squad car. Police Officer Lamont Mounsdon joined the chase that eventually ended along a dead end road.

Kroupa stopped his pickup and ducked behind a tree as he continued to shoot. A woman and her young daughter on the porch of a nearby home were caught in the crossfire. To protect the mom and daughter, Mounsdon shot Kroupa.

Felt, who was 23, died three-and-a-half hours later while in surgery at Douglas County Hospital. He left behind his wife of six months, his father and mother, and 7-year-old twin brothers.

Kroupa died three days later at the University of Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis.

Related story: Pedaling with honor: Jail administrator rides for fallen deputy Curt Felt

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste Edenloff, a reporter for the Echo Press, has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from May of 1999 to February 2011, and is happy to be back and once again sharing the stories of the people in this community. Besides being a reporter, Celeste is a certified fitness instructor and enjoys teaching bootcamp classes through Snap Fitness. She also enjoys running and has participated in more than 170 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.


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