Farmer Detains Small-Town Bar Murder Suspect After 3-Day Hunt

A North Dakota man was on the run for three days this week after fatally shooting another man in a bar, threatening employees and other patrons, and stealing security camera footage and a vehicle for his escape.

Nicholas Poitra, 45, was captured on Wednesday when a farmer saw him walking near his farm and held him at gunpoint until police arrived on scene, according to Valley News Live.

The shooting took place on Sunday at Rindy’s Sheyenne Bar in Sheyenne, a tiny town about 150 miles northeast of Bismarck near the Spirit Lake Dakota Reservation. Court documents say Poitra exchanged words with Troyal Thumb, 30, then pulled out a short-barrel shotgun and shot him.

After the shooting, Poitra kept his shotgun pointed at other people in the bar while he took the security footage, demanded the remaining people in the bar hand over their cell phones, and took the car keys from two of them. He left via a back door and drove off in a stolen 2013 Ford Explorer.

The Explorer was found on Monday near a Wells County farmhouse, according to the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office, which said it appeared Poitra had been inside and may have rummaged through the owner’s guns. The owner was not home at the time, the sheriff’s office said.

Officials considered Poitra armed and dangerous and warned anyone who saw him to stay away and call authorities. That call came on Wednesday from the farmer, who didn’t heed the warning to stay away from the suspect.

The farmer declined to comment about his actions.

Eddy County Sheriff Paul Lies told InForum the shooting appeared to stem from an argument over a broken machine in the bar.

“Kind of the mystery, we don’t really know what took place,” said Lies. “We know Mr. Thumb approached the machine, tried to get it to work. We know the suspect was also talked to about the machine and a short time later the conversation turned deadly.”

Friends and family told Valley News Live Troyal’s death was a shock and that he was a beloved member of the tiny community.

Poitra faces multiple counts, including murder for Thumb’s death and seven counts of terrorizing for the seven other people in the bar at the time. He appeared in court on Thursday, when a judge set his bail at $1.5 million. He’s due in court again on March 9.

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[Featured image: Troyal Thumb/Facebook]