Complaint: Victim stabbed to death, then shot 16 times

Derek Sweere was arrested on a second-degree murder charge by the Perham Police Department on Monday, March 31. (Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office)

During an argument Monday night, March 30, Derek Sweere took a folding knife and stabbed his roommate, Brandon Snyder in both eyes, killing him. Then, he shot Snyder 16 times.

These details emerged today in the criminal complaint filed against Derek John Sweere, 40, of Perham. Sweere was charged with second-degree murder and possession of a firearm in Snyder's death, according to the complaint filed with the District Court State of Minnesota in Otter Tail County.

According to the complaint, Sweere stabbed Snyder with a folding knife in his left eye, about 2 inches deep, and then through his right eye. Sweere told police that Snyder was already dead before he then shot him 15 times with a .22-caliber rifle, which Sweere claimed that he had loaded a couple of days before, according to the complaint. Sweere then shot Snyder one more time with a 270-caliber rifle.

Snyder was pronounced dead on the scene by EMT personnel, according to the complaint. Snyder and Sweere were roommates at the home in the 600 block of First Avenue South, where Snyder was found dead.

Sweere was arrested without incident at approximately 10:05 p.m. on Monday, March 30, according to the complaint. He was taken to the Perham Police Department, where he was questioned by Perham Detective Michael Christopherson and Otter Tail County Lt. Keith Van Dyke, according to the complaint.


Sweere told police that the incident that led to Snyder’s death started with a confrontation on the stairwell of the two men’s shared residence in Perham.

Crime scene tape covers the entrances to the home on First Avenue where Perham Police responded to the distance report on Monday, March 30. (RosaLin Alcoser/Focus)

The fight started at gunpoint; with the gun being Sweere’s .22 caliber Model 60 Marlin that he had noticed was missing earlier that night. According to the complaint, Sweere told police that Snyder refused to give up the gun, prompting Sweere to punch him.

Sweere claimed that Snyder was saying, “you’re my friend, you’re my friend, I’m going to kill you.” Sweere then wrapped himself around Snyder's legs, according to the complaint, so Snyder could not get away from Sweere.

According to the complaint, after shooting Snyder, Sweere turned on all the lights in the house and opened the blinds before calling the Perham Police Department to report a disturbance. When Officer Bryan Byrne arrived at the scene, he noticed a "significant" amount of blood on Sweere, according to the complaint.

Sweere told Byrne that there had been a disturbance between him and Snyder, according to the complaint. He said Snyder had bitten him on the arm.

Sweere also said that Snyder was still in the house dead, according to the complaint. Sweere claimed to have killed Snyder in self-defense by stabbing him and then shooting him 16 times. After placing Sweere in the squad car, Byrne found Snyder’s body in the doorway of the residence, where he observed a large amount of blood, according to the complaint.


Snyder’s mother, Michelle Snyder, arrived at the scene in Perham. She pulled up behind the squad car in a white SUV and jumped out, according to the criminal complaint, yelling, "Is that blood on him? Did he kill my son?”

Michelle Snyder told Daniel Baumann, a special agent from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, that she received a text from her son telling her that he feared Sweere and wanted to leave the residence, according to the complaint.

At the Perham Police Department, Sweere admitted to having consumed a few beers and some brandy that night, according to the complaint. He denied using any prescription or nonprescription drugs.

Sweere told the police that he had planned ask Snyder to move out of the house as his dog seemed to be afraid of Snyder, according to the complaint. When asked why he confronted Snyder, Sweere said that Snyder had gotten defensive, but he could not explain how to police.

“This isn’t something that happens very often in Perham,” Perham Chief of Police Jason Hoaby told the Forum on Wednesday, April 1. The investigation is ongoing and the Perham Police Department is working to thoroughly investigate the case.

When something like this happens it affects the whole community and the day-to-day life, Hoaby said. The police chief was not able to recall a homicide happening in Perham in the past 10 years, and no record of one was found since the Perham Police Department’s records went digital.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a court date for Sweere has not been set at this time, and his attorney is unknown to the Otter Tail County Court Administration.


Perham Police Department and Crime Scene Team from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) blocked off part of the 600 block of First Avenue South, near the old Perham High School on Tuesday, March 31. (RosaLin Alcoser/Focus)

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