Federal charges in Burnsville first responder murders highlight the folly of “gun control”

Ashley Dyrdahl, 35, the live-in girlfriend of Shannon Gooden who killed three Burnsville first responders last month before taking his own life, was indicted today on federal charges including the straw purchase of five firearms for Gooden, who she knew was prohibited from possessing them.

In a 16-page indictment filed today, authorities laid out a series of text communications between Dyrdahl and Gooden in which he identified the guns he wanted her to order and from where to buy them. The texts made it abundantly clear that Dyrdahl knew what she was doing was illegal, and that she knew Gooden was prohibited from possessing firearms.

In one of the text exchanges, Dyrdahl commented to Gooden,

“We just gotta make sure we’re smart about all this, ya know?” 

Dyrdahl was also aware of Gooden’s prohibition from possessing firearms, as she was part of his failed attempt in 2020 to petition the state court to get his firearm rights restored after an earlier assault conviction.

Dyrdahl made the purchases, lying on the ATF forms that are needed to complete the sales, by indicating the purchases were for her. She purchased two handguns and three AR-15 style rifles for Gooden over a five-month period this past fall and winter.

Credit is due to all of the investigators from Burnsville police, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, FBI and ATF. They have worked tirelessly to pull the facts together and gather the evidence needed to prosecute Dyrdahl. 

Credit is also due to U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger who has proven once again the value of having a law-and-order prosecutor in our area. His work and the work of his office has been significant in fighting the scourge of carjackings for example, especially in a jurisdiction where local prosecutors have failed to aggressively act.

Dyrdahl and Gooden have at least one child together per court records, and previous reports have indicated there were seven children in the house on February 18 when Burnsville police were called on reports that Gooden had sexually assaulted one of the children. It’s unclear if Dyrdahl had been the one to call 911 that night.

During the standoff that ensued, Gooden reportedly fired over 100 rounds of rifle fire at the officers, killing two police officers and a fire medic who had responded to assist. 

The use of the federal grand jury to indict and the power of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute in federal court will send a strong deterrent message.

Sadly, the murders also show the weakness that laws alone have in preventing criminals from carrying out violence. This past session our DFL-led legislature passed several “gun control” laws which they claimed would keep Minnesotans safer. None of the provisions such as “Red Flag” and enhanced background checks, which went into effect as Dyrdahl was making the illegal purchases for Gooden, had any deterrent effect on Gooden or Dyrdahl. 

History shows that the only ones affected by “gun control” measures are the law abiding.

History also shows the only tried and true deterrent is for criminals to believe that if they act, they will be swiftly and surely apprehended and punished. That deterrent has gone out the window with the emergence of offender-based legislation being passed in Minnesota, the anti-police rhetoric that has been championed by or ignored by far too many of our leaders, the social justice led prosecution that dominates too many of our local prosecutor offices, and the feckless sentencing by our state court judges.

While Dyrdahl didn’t following to her own advice, maybe we should listen to her and understand “we just gotta make sure we’re smart about all this, ya know?”