VIRGINIA — A 30-year-old Eveleth man was formally charged with premediated first-degree attempted murder after a shooting incident last week in Virginia.

Luke Mathias Erkkila faces up to 20 years in prison for the felony offense after allegedly shooting 30-year-old Scott Fitzgerald Kesler on the 800 block of Sixth Avenue S. at about 7:09 p.m. Friday.

A new press release from Virginia Police Chief Nicole Mattson said Kesler has been released from the hospital after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head.

The criminal complaint, filed in Sixth District Court on Tuesday, detailed how officers arrived on scene Friday to find Kesler and several others on a set of stairs leading to the upper level of an apartment belonging to Kesler’s girlfriend.

Officers found Kesler bleeding heavily from his neck and head area. They were told by Kesler’s girlfriend that he was shot near his ear and the suspect, later identified as Erkkila, fled the scene.

While Kesler was being treated the girlfriend informed officers she had found a handgun near the base of the stairs. Officers collected the gun and later a knife at the top of the stairs.

After investigating, law enforcement learned Erkkila had been dropped off in the alley about a block from the apartment building and was “acting erratically,” according to the complaint.

Earlier this week, a Virginia detective went to the hospital to speak with Kesler, who said he was driven to the apartment building by a friend, and as he attempted to get out of the car, Erkkilla approached and shot him.

As Kesler told it, Erkkila said “she’s leaving me because of you.” Erkkila was in a relationship with Kesler’s sister, according to the complaint. The alleged victim added he tried to get the gun away from Erkkila, who then stabbed Kesler multiple times.

Erkkila was located in Eveleth and taken into custody by the Eveleth Police Department early Saturday morning. As a result of his injuries, Kesler was airlifted to Duluth from Essentia Hospital in Virginia.

Bail was set at $300,000. A next court date has not been scheduled.

Erkkila previously pleaded guilt of felony first-degree assault in 2013 and sentenced to 86 months in prison for stabbing his half-brother Kale Stratton. Erkkila testified that he stabbed Stratton twice their Eveleth home after Stratton refused to give him the key to a gun safe. Stratton suffered injuries to his stomach, kidney, spleen and pancreas, according to court documents.

Erkkila, who has undergone chemical-dependence treatment in the past argued through the Minnesota Court of Appeals that he should receive probation in lieu of jail time, but the prison sentence was upheld in 2014.

He was placed under court supervision in 2017, set to expire in March 2020.


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