‘He is just so positive’

Community turns out for Killdeer teen, as

he recovers from attack

dakota mug

DUNN CENTER – Two weeks ago, Dakota Brekke didn’t know if he was ever going to see out of his right eye. He was brutally attacked in Turtle Lake and suffered severe facial injuries that affected his vision and required surgery.

But his outlook on Saturday was much more clear after about a hundred people attended and participated in a fundraiser for the 2016 Killdeer High School graduate at DC Pub & Grub here.

He was showered with happy high-fives, hearty backslaps, and tender hugs as hordes of people helped raise funds to help defray Brekke’s rapidly rising medical expenses.

“I feel greatly appreciated and cared for,” Brekke quietly said, as people came from all around the area to be with him. “A couple weeks ago I couldn’t see because I couldn’t open my eye.”

But what he saw Saturday, the people with their genuine well-wishes and warm smiles, brought tears that temporarily affected his vision. He blinked a couple of times to hold back the water works.

It didn’t work for Shaela Larkin, a friend who is acting as a guardian for Brekke. The 18-year-old lives with Larkin and her family.

“It’s a great thing for people to come together like this, to support him” she said, her voice wavering and her eyes welling up. “They know what kind of person he is.”

There was a dinner at the pub, a silent auction and a dance with live music on Brekke’s behalf. Some came from across the street and other from across the state to support the soft-spoken Brekke.

Austin Freborg, a 15-year-old freshman at Turtle Lake, drove 200 miles with two other friends to support Brekke.

“I like being around him,” said Freborg.

“He’s just so positive,” added 20-year-old Shelby Olson, also of Turtle Lake, who has known Brekke for nearly a decade. “He bounces back.”

Kind words, ones that brought a smile to Brekke. That’s his style.

He wasn’t smiling, however, on July 23. He and his girlfriend, Brookelynn Larkin, were visiting Brekke’s family when his life seemed to be turned upside down.

Brekke, his sister, and Larkin were walking in town. Brekke’s sister was playing Pokemon, a popular electronic game on her phone when the trio walked past a group of five boys in a parking lot.

Brekke knew the boys, including a couple with whom he had some run-ins. They allegedly began harassing Brekke and the girls and reportedly shoved the two girls. Brekke said they tried to induce him into a fight.

After they shoved the girls, Brekke said he stepped forward and put his hand up to stop the boys from shoving the girls. Brekke said he was hit by a punch that he didn’t see coming and another boy jumped into the fray. The other three boys watched.

“I started to cover my head and knealt down to make it harder to hit me,” he said. “I have no idea how many times I got hit.”

Brekke’s sister called 911 and the boys stopped and ran away. Brekke just wanted to go home.

However, home was in the same direction in which the attackers went. They had to walk past the boys, and one of them allegedly asked Brekke “are you back for more.”

Shortly after he arrived at his mom’s house, the ambulance showed up. And soon after that, the police arrived. As he was receiving medical attention, officers interviewed the trio as to what happened,.

Brekke was taken to the hospital and the two attackers were later arrested. After their preliminary hearing, the attackers were confined to their homes until their upcoming court case.

He suffered a cheek bone fracture, fractured temporal bone and right eye socket was shattered. For a week, he couldn’t open his eye, until he had surgery in Bismarck, where doctors put in a metal plate on the cheek bone.

Now comes the rehab, which should go into early October. And the waiting, which will seem like years, he chuckled.

Brekke can’t work – he has a job with Charging Eagle Enterprise – and he can’t ride his motorcycle. Brekke has been competing in motocross for the past two years. He is currently ranked in the top three in the state in 250C and Open Class. This summer he’s competed and done very well in events in Bismarck, Mandan, Dickinson and Jamestown.

“I can’t put a helmet on because I can’t put any pressure on my cheek,” he said.

Brekke expects to be cleared, he said with a smile, on Oct. 3.

He flashed that smile, that positive outlook, even after all that he went through.

“I’m mad, but at the same time, I’m not because I’m going to be able to do the same things I would before,” he said.

Larkin, beaming with pride, shook her head in amazement at the maturity Brekke has shown.

“He is like a rock. He’s just looking forward to getting back to work,” she said.         

Brekke said he wanted to see justice served in this case, but he doesn’t want revenge. Those negative thoughts aren’t worth the time, he said.

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