It was a warm Sunday evening in a sleepy neighbourhood when the sound of gunfire suddenly erupted from the home of Angela Mesich.
Terrified residents called police reporting multiple shots and possible victims.
When armed police arrived at the home of Jason and Angela in the Bloomington area in Minnesota, they engaged in a three-hour stand-off with the shooter holed up in a basement.
But when they found 27-year-old Angela’s body when they arrived, did the police need to save Mesich from harm – or protect the public from Mesich?
Angela, known for her big heart, lived with Jason and their 27-year-old daughter. Beneath the surface, though, it seemed there was trouble in her marriage.
The chilling events of August 30, 2020 started after neighbours heard a chilling sound coming from their home.
Angela was found lying dead in her property’s detached garage with 12 gunshot wounds to the neck and torso.
And they were told two neighbours had been rushed to hospital by frantic family members after suffering a number of gunshot wounds.
It was a major incident and the officers needed to check that Mesich was safe and find out if there were any other victims. They could hear shouting coming from the house and went to investigate – but as they called through the door and tried to enter, they came under fire.
The gunman had reached around the staircase inside to take shots at an officer, one of his bullets hitting a car outside.
Eventually, when the suspect retreated to the basement, it was revealed to be 48-year-old Mesich. He could be heard shouting and screaming while hurling objects around in the basement, then he started to blast bullets into the walls.
Crazed Mesich had not been a victim – he was the attacker. Holed up with several firearms, he continued to fire while officers tried to convince him to give himself up, refusing to surrender his weapons and be taken in for questioning.
Some 40 rounds and three hours later, officers finally managed to enter the house and arrest him. They found hundreds more rounds of ammunition in the property and yet more weapons.
With Mesich finally in custody, investigators started to piece together what had happened. While Angela was dead, two other victims were fighting for their lives.
Mesich admitted he’d argued with Angela in their garage, saying it was about the “lack of sex” in their marriage. With tensions high, he’d gone into the house and grabbed a gun.
Mesich claimed Angela had hit him and he reacted by punching her in the collar bone. He said his wife had told him to shoot her, adding, “I’m assuming that I did shoot her.”
When he was asked how many times he had shot Angela with his semi-automatic weapon, he said, “I probably emptied it… to make sure she was dead.”
After gunning down his wife, Mesich left her body in the garage. He then stormed outside and saw Canisha Saulter, 29, helping her family load a truck in the front yard next door, ready for a move to a new home.
Her sister Makayla Saulter-Outlaw, 12, was carrying Canisha’s 18-month-old baby girl while the family loaded belongings.
Mesich claimed he couldn’t remember whether there was any exchange with the neighbours or whether what occurred next “just happened”.
He did say in his police interview he “hates all children” and complained they “weren’t good neighbours” – which wasn’t true. They’d lived next door to each other for three years but had hardly exchanged a word.
Mesich said he thought they would have heard what he’d done to his wife – which was more likely to be the reason why he walked up to them and opened fire.
Brave Makayla turned to protect her niece, who was cradled in her arms, and took a bullet to the head, while Canisha was hit in her legs and hip. Mesich narrowly missed other family members as they scattered in terror.
Makayla and Canisha’s distraught mother, Mildred, saw her daughters lying on the ground and knew they were seriously injured. Rather than waiting for an ambulance, the family loaded them into vehicles and rushed them to hospital.
That was when Mesich decided to stage the siege in his house, having absolutely no intention of going quietly. His sickening crime had spiralled out of control.
The community rushed to support Makayla and Canisha as they fought for their lives in hospital. A fund started to cover medical expenses would rise to over $130,000.
Makayla, who was hailed a hero for protecting her niece, suffered life-changing wounds to the back of her head. Doctors had to remove a piece of her skull to manage the swelling and she was on a respirator with a tube in her head to drain blood.
But despite medics being unsure she would even survive, Makayla was released from hospital after two months. She is now waiting for further major surgery to rebuild her skull, which is being protected by a helmet.
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The bullets that hit single mum Canisha shattered bones in her leg, ankle and hip, leaving her needing extensive rehabilitation to learn how to walk again – and unable to work or look after her little girl.
The sisters’ lives were devastated simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And kind-hearted Angela had died at the hands of her husband.
Mesich was held on a $1 million bail and, in February this year, he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder and second-degree assault. There was also a charge of first-degree assault for firing at officers as they tried to arrest him.
Mesich, by then sporting a long grey beard, admitted that he’d shot Angela 12 times in the garage of their home, then gone outside and shot his neighbours.
A month later, as he faced sentencing, Mildred shared the agony that her family was still going through.
“It’s been such a struggle,” she said. “I find myself leaving the room to cry then coming back with my game face on to be strong. And I just want him to spend as much time [in prison] as the judge will give him because he deserves every bit of it. My whole family is being affected by this.”
Mesich said he was sorry and that what he’d done that night would stay with him for the rest of his life, which will likely be spent behind bars after the judge sentenced him to 48 years.
Meanwhile, the shocked community in Bloomington is still coming to terms with a row over sex that exploded into a deadly shooting spree and a siege.