North Dakota National Guardsman from Ringgold gunned down and killed in his home Christmas Eve

MINOT, ND — A U.S. Airman assigned to 119th Wing, North Dakota National Guard, was killed during a shooting incident in his home. According to an affidavit, Minot Police in North Dakota responded to the fourth floor of a southwest apartment complex at 8:44 p.m. December 24. An officer observed bullet holes in the exterior of the apartment while another heard sounds of a female moaning in pain in extreme distress coming from inside the apartment. Police quickly kicked in the door and discovered a man lying face down in a pool of blood in the hallway near the front door. The 41-year-old female was found in a laundry room suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the back and one to a forearm. The suspect a Daniel Breijo a federal law enforcement officer employed by Homeland Security was found in a bathroom and taken into custody. Master Sgt. Nicholas Van Pelt, of the 219th Security Forces Squadron, died during the shooting. “We have lost a member of our 219th family in this tragic event and our condolences are with Nick’s family.” said Maj. Greg Goodman, 219th Security Forces Squadron commander. “We share in the sorrow felt by his loved ones and remember the amazing friend and Airman that Nick was. As a flight chief, he protected our nation’s most important resources. He supported his community, his state and his country and has left a lasting impact on the 219th.” “The entire Hooligan family is saddened by the tragic loss of one of our members.” said 119th Wing commander, Col. Mitch Johnson. “Our deepest sympathies go out to Master Sgt. Van Pelt’s family in this time of sorrow as we too mourn the loss of one of our own.” A native of Ringgold, Georgia, Van Pelt, 41, enlisted in the Air Force in 2001. He became a member of the North Dakota Air National Guard in 2009, where he served with the 219th Security Forces Squadron at Minot Air Force Base. Van Pelt served as a Ward County Sheriff’s Deputy until May of 2023, when he transitioned to serving full-time with the 219th. He is survived by his three children and parents. “This is a tragic event that happened to Master Sgt. Nicholas Van Pelt and we extend our sympathies to his friends and family,” said Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, North Dakota adjutant general. “Van Pelt served his nation for more than 14 years as an Airman in the North Dakota National Guard and as a Defender in 219th Security Forces Squadron. He will always be remembered.” The Minot Police Department has arrested a suspect in the shooting.

From the North Dakota Fraternal Order of Police, On late December 24th, Lodge #7 in Minot received the devastating news that Brother Nicholas Van Pelt was murdered in his home, as well as the presence of a woman who was grievously wounded (who was subsequently taken to the hospital where she remains undergoing medical treatment). The suspected shooter, known to the parties, was identified as Daniel Breijo, who was still on scene and arrested for Murder and Attempted Murder and has since been in the custody of the Ward County Jail.Making an already horrifying incident even more complicated, Breijo works for the Department of Homeland Security and is a member of Lodge #7 as well. Shortly after his arrest Breijo reached out to his work supervision asking how to contact an FOP Legal Defense Plan Attorney. When this question made its way to Lodge #7 President Kenton Kossan, he provided the jail staff the phone numbers for the program to pass on to the defendant. This was the lone instance of assistance sought of and provided by Lodge #7.

MSGT Nicholas “Nick” McLeod Van Pelt, 41, Minot, ND, died December 24, 2023. Nick was a native of Ringgold, Georgia, and a graduate of Ringgold High School.

Nick is survived by his children, his pride and joy: Kaedance McLeod Van Pelt, Ameri Lynn Van Pelt and Andrew Nicholas Van Pelt. He is also survived by his former wife, Nikki Haas Van Pelt; his parents, Ralph Van Pelt, Jr. (Beth Peters) and Cynthia Anne McLeod (Donald Highfield); his sister Kathleen Van Pelt Davis (Spencer); stepsisters Amanda Gamsby and Heather Highfield; uncles Charles McLeod (Lisa) and Keith McLeod; mother and father-in-law Teresa and Ron Barrette; sisters-in-law Christina Latendresse (Chase) and Jessica Klug (Matthew); brother-in-law Paul Barrette (Ashlynn); and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He is also survived by many friends who became family while serving in the military and as a law enforcement officer.

Nick enlisted in the United States Air Force after graduation in 2001 and was then stationed in Minot, North Dakota. His overseas deployments included bases in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and Kyrgyzstan. He joined the North Dakota Air National Guard in 2009 where he served as a Master Sergeant in the 219th Security Forces Squadron. Nick was proud to be a Hooligan.

In 2018 Nick graduated from the North Dakota Police Academy and pursued his career in Law Enforcement, a dream of his since he was a little boy. He was hired by the Ward County Sheriff’s Department as a patrol deputy, eventually making his way to becoming a part of the Drug Task Force. Nick worked as a Ward County sheriff’s deputy until May 2023, when he began working full time for the 219th.

A longtime resident of Minot, he became part of the fabric of the community as people appreciated his kindness and unique sense of humor. His three children were the lights of his life; his time with them was precious. No one gave better hugs than Nick.

Nick enjoyed hunting and fishing, gardening, cooking, a good party, and a great joke. He loved the Georgia Bulldogs and enjoyed watching them play with his son, Andrew. Blessed with the ability to talk to anyone, he made friends wherever he went, sometimes of the canine variety. His dog was a rescue he found while working on a case. The newly renamed “Kitty” was devoted to Nick, who nursed him back to health and spoiled him rotten.

The family very much appreciates the support from Nick’s Air Force family, all his former co-workers in the Ward County Sheriff’s Office, and the Minot community. Their shared memories and funny stories have been a light during this painful time, and a comfort for all who loved Nick.

A Celebration of Life for Msgt Nicholas McLeod Van Pelt will be held at 1:00 p.m. Friday, January 5, 2024 at Our Redeemer’s Church, 700 16th Ave SE, Minot, ND 58701. The family will receive friends Friday, January 5, 2024 from 10:00 a.m. until the start of the service in the church. To view a livestream of the service or to share memories and condolences access his obituary at

A Celebration of Life for Msgt Nicholas McLeod Van Pelt will be held at 1:00 p.m. Friday, January 12, 2024 at the Catoosa County Colonnade, 264 Catoosa Circle, Ringgold, GA 30736. The family will receive friends Friday, January 12, 2024 from 10:00 a.m. until the start of the service in the Colonnade.

In lieu of plants and flowers, memorials are preferred to a memorial trust that has been established for Nick’s children at First International Bank & Trust of Minot or to an organization of the donor’s choice in Nick’s memory.

To share your condolences with the family online, please visit our website at

Local arrangements are provided by Mason Funeral Home- Summerville, GA.

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