UPDATE: Authorities say a standoff with an armed suspect in St. Michael ended Wednesday night after approximately 44 hours.
According to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement broke into the home of 39-year-old Brandon Gardas around 8:30 pm. An “armed confrontation” ensued and Gardas was shot.
Gardas was loaded onto a helicopter and flown to a nearby hospital. The sheriff’s office had no updates on his condition.
Authorities say no law enforcement personnel were harmed in the operation.
The area of the house on block 500 of Central Avenue has been blocked as investigators gather evidence. Residents are advised to stay away from the scene.
Further information on the use of force incident will be released by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Below is an older version of this report.
KSTP has team coverage today on the stalemate in St. Michael which began Tuesday at the beginning of 12:30 pm Click on the video player above to watch the latest reports.
The standoff continues Wednesday night in St. Michael.
In an update at 4pm, Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer said Gardas remains hostile and is still firing gunshots at law enforcement. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
Some neighboring houses are still evacuated as the stalemate drags on. The officers were first called to Central Avenue 500 block shortly after 12:30 pm on Tuesday.
“As long as he communicates with us, however sporadic, we will continue to be here as long as possible to try to bring a peaceful solution to this situation,” Deringer said Wednesday afternoon.
Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes told 5 EYES WITNESS NEWS Wednesday:
“I hope the current situation in St. Michael ends peacefully. Gardas is not allowed to own weapons and he is aware of it. His continued contempt for the law is disturbing. He leads to dangerous situations like this and his total lack of respect for law enforcement. He is disappointing and puts his safety, his family and all the police officers who carry out their work at risk, all because he will not respect the law and will not denounce his warrants ”.
Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes
Below is an older version of this report.
UPDATE: Authorities have told residents living near an active scene in St. Michael to evacuate due to what they say is the “unstable nature” of the incident, adding that shots were fired at law enforcement.
According to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, Congressmen were called to block 500 Central Avenue West in the town of St. Michael on Tuesday over a firearms complaint.
The person who reported the incident said a man and a woman were arguing and that the man was carrying a rifle.
The man, identified by authorities as 39-year-old Brandon Gardas of St. Michael, allegedly has an active arrest warrant. Gardas is a convicted criminal and the warrants are for his arrest on various charges, including domestic assault and possession of a firearm.
The deputies have been trying to arrest Gardas since Tuesday and have been there since Wednesday morning.
Authorities say they have fired several shots at them and ask community members to stay away from the area.
Drivers on County Road 35 and other roads will also be redirected for public safety reasons.
5 INVESTIGATE localized court documents indicating that law enforcement officers had previously been to Gardas’ home.
A criminal complaint alleges that lawmakers responded to Gardas’ home along Central Avenue West shortly after 1:00 am on August 11, 2020 on the complaint of a domestic assault. Officers reportedly found a bruised woman at home who said she was blocked and her phone was taken away. The woman said Gardas wasn’t home when the agents arrived and she said she didn’t know where she was.
An agent who responded, according to the complaint, had had previous contacts at home and reported knowing that the family possessed “an arsenal of firearms”. When the house was cleared, officers found a long corridor leading to a back room, described as a “doomsday” room in court records. Inside the room, law enforcement officers found hundreds of ammunition, soft armor and equipment to break down doors, the complaint says. The woman said she tried to unlock a gun safe, but she failed, saying Gardas “must have changed the code”.
The complaint states that Gardas was convicted in 2004 of possessing third-degree controlled substances, which made him ineligible to possess firearms or ammunition.
More than a year later, another complaint was filed, accusing Gardas of possessing a firearm and ammunition as a criminal, as well as fleeing the police.
Congressmen who knew Gardas had an exceptional criminal warrant saw him on October 11, 2021 on the main step of the Gardas home along Central Avenue West.
The complaint claims that after he got within about 10 feet of Gardas, officers told him he was under arrest. Gardas then ran to the front door and tried to lock the door after entering. However, the complaint alleges that deputies kicked the door handle and entered and chased Gardas down the hall while calling for help.
According to the complaint, Gardas’ wife communicated with him, as he was locked up in a bedroom, and helped with the negotiations before opening the door.
Agents say they found Gardas sitting on the floor behind the bed, adding that he raised both hands to show he didn’t have a weapon, but when an officer approached him, Gardas would move his hands out of sight and towards ground, forcing an officer to draw his firearm. Gardas was then bedridden and handcuffed. Officers found a pistol holster near his right side, as well as a homemade Glock-style 9mm pistol loaded with an extended magazine under the bed.
MEPs say nearly two dozen 9mm hollow point bullets were found, including the chambered bullet and bullets in the magazine.
Additionally, the complaint claims the gun did not have a serial number, with officers claiming the bottom half had a grip and trigger that appeared to be a pre-made gun frame, while the slide and rail appeared to come from a Glock, but no serial number. Documents say that after dry firing the pistol in the sheriff’s office, the weapon fired like a regular Glock would.
This spring, the school reported that one of the young people “hadn’t been there for some time.” In response, the sheriff’s office told school staff not to go to the family residence without law enforcement because “the whole family is anti-government” and “it is very likely that a dangerous situation in the residence could escalate quickly. “.
On Wednesday, online records show that Gardas’ wife, Chelsea Gardas, 37, is in custody and is being held on suspicion of helping a delinquent avoid arrest.
Updates will be provided as more information becomes available. Make sure you refresh the page to make sure you see the most recent report.
An older version of this report can be found below.
INITIAL REPORT: 5 NEWS FROM WITNESSES EYES are following an apparent standoff in St. Michael, where authorities have been stationed at least since 9:30 am Tuesday night.
Authorities have set up a command center on Kady Avenue. Several agencies are on site.
A 5 eyewitness photographer reported hearing what is believed to be a gunshot while monitoring the situation overnight.
With little information available at this time, some neighbors have expressed concern.
“You think you are protected here, you are a little safe, but then you realize that no place is immune to things that happen,” said Thomas Kammann, a resident of St. Michael.
Check back for updates as 5 Eyewitness NEWS works to learn more from Wright County officials.