ST. MICHAEL, Minn. -- A police standoff in the northwest metro that lasted more than 40 hours ended Wednesday night.
It began Tuesday at about 12:30 a.m., when a 911 call came in about a man and woman arguing inside a home on the 500 block of Central Avenue in St. Michael, and that the man had a gun.
Police identified the suspect as 39-year-old Brandon Gardas, and they confirmed that he had at least one rifle and a handgun.
At one point, there were also several children inside the home. But by Tuesday evening, everyone but Gardas was out of the house.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is leading the investigation, says there were "two officer involved shootings" during the nearly 44-hour standoff. The first was when Gardas fired at law enforcement just before midnight on Tuesday, and a Wright County Sheriff's deputy returned fire.
The second shooting occurred right after law enforcement members entered Gardas's home Wednesday at about 8:30 p.m. to arrest him. Gardas was shot in this encounter by a St. Cloud police officer.
Gardas was airlifted to North Memorial Health hospital. His condition has not been released, but the BCA says he's "awake and alert." No one else was hurt during the entire ordeal.
Sheriff Sean Deringer said this was the longest standoff he has even been involved in. And given that the suspect had actually shot at officers, they were careful about how to bring this to a peaceful end.
Police described Gardas as aggressive, and that the shots he fired came close to hitting officers and neighboring homes. That's why neighbors actually had to evacuate for their safety.
Officers talked with him through a PA system, and they fired tear gas into the home – all to no avail.
"The sanctity of life is so important for the suspect and for our officers as well, and knowing that he's already shot rounds towards officers, that's got to be paramount in the decisions," Deringer said.
Many are wondering why the standoff took so long, including neighbors like Emily Haaland, who we worried about what Gardas is capable of.
"It's so eerily quiet around here, and then you just hear the 'pop,' so it's almost like it's normal. You think it's not there, then you hear the popping and you're like, 'Gosh, it's still there.' Like why is this happening in my neighborhood? We moved here for quiet, and it's scary. It's right across the road from us" Haaland said. "If [Gardas] does get out, will he come this way? Will he go through the woods and come to my house? It's right there."
Gardas was known to police. He currently has two active warrants: one for domestic assault, and another for felony possession of a firearm.
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