UPDATE: Authorities say a fight with an armed suspect in St. Michael finished Wednesday night after about 44 hours.
According to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement raided the home of 39-year-old Brandon Gardas around 6 p.m. 20.30. An “armed confrontation” ensued and Gardas was shot.
Gardas was loaded into a helicopter and flown to a nearby hospital. The sheriff’s office did not have an update on his condition.
Authorities say no police officers were injured during the operation.
The area of the home on the 500 block of Central Avenue is cordoned off while investigators gather evidence. Residents are asked to stay away from the place.
Further information on the incident of use of force will be released by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Below is an earlier version of this report.
KSTP has team coverage today at standoff in St. Michael, who started early Tuesday around 6 p.m. 12:30. Click on the video player above to see the latest reports.
A standoff continues Wednesday night in St. Louis. Michael.
In an update at 4pm, Wright County Sheriff Sean Deringer said Gardas remains hostile and still fires shots at law enforcement. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
Some homes nearby are still being evacuated while the conflict drags on. Officers were first called to the 500 block on Central Avenue shortly after 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.
“As long as he will communicate with us, sporadically as it is, we will continue to be here for as long as we can, to try to bring a peaceful solution to this situation,” Deringer said Wednesday afternoon.
Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes told Wednesday 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS:
“I hope the current situation in St. Michael ends peacefully. Gardas must not possess weapons and he is aware of that. His continued violation of the law is disturbing. It leads to dangerous situations like this and his complete lack of regard for “It is disappointing and endangers his safety, his family and all the police officers who carry out their work, all because he will not comply with the law and will not hand over his orders.”
Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes
Below is an earlier version of this report.
UPDATE: Authorities have asked residents living near an active scene in St. Louis. Michael, about to evacuate because of what they say is “the volatile nature” of the incident, adds that shots have been fired against law enforcement.
According to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, lawmakers were called to the 500 block on Central Avenue West in the town of St. Louis. Michael to get a report on a gun complaint Tuesday.
The person who reported the incident said that 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, is said to have active arrest warrants. Gardas is a convicted felon and the verdicts are for his arrest on various charges, including domestic violence and possession of a firearm.
Deputies have been trying to apprehend Gardas since Tuesday and are still at the scene Wednesday morning.
Authorities say they have received several shots fired at them, and are asking members of the local community to stay away from the area.
Drivers on County Road 35 and other streets will also be diverted due to public safety.
5 INVESTIGATES localized court documents indicating that law enforcement officers have previously been in Gardas’ home.
A criminal complaint says deputies responded to Gardas’ home along Central Avenue West shortly after noon. 01.00 on 11 August 2020 on a report of an assault in the home. Deputies allegedly found a woman with bruises in the home who said she had been restrained and her phone was taken away. The woman said Gardas was not home when deputies arrived, saying she did not know where he was.
A responding deputy, according to the complaint, had had previous contact in the home and reported knowledge that the family owns “an arsenal of firearms.” When the home was cleared, deputies found a long hallway leading to a back room, described as a ‘doomsday room’ in the court records. Inside the room, law enforcement found hundreds of cartridges with ammunition, soft armor and door-breaking equipment, the complaint states. The woman said she had tried to unlock a gun cabinet but was unable to do so, saying Garda “must have changed the code.”
The complaint states that Gardas was convicted in 2004 of third-degree controlled possession of drugs, making him unable to possess firearms or ammunition.
Over a year later, another complaint was filed in which Gardas was accused of possessing a firearm and ammunition as a criminal, as well as fleeing from the police.
Deputies who knew Gardas had an outstanding criminal record saw him on Oct. 11, 2021, at the front of the Gardas home along Central Avenue West.
The complaint says that after reaching about 10 feet from Gardas, deputies told him he had been arrested. Gardas then ran to the front door and tried to lock the door after entering. But the complaint states that deputies kicked in the door handle and came in and chased Gardas down the hall while asking for help.
According to the complaint, Gardas’ wife communicated with him when he was locked inside a bedroom, helping with negotiations before finally unlocking the door.
Deputies say they found Gardas sitting on the floor behind the bed, adding that he raised both hands to show he did not have a weapon, but when a deputy approached him, Gardas reportedly moved his hands out of sight and toward ground, causes a deputy to draw his firearm. Gardas were then forced onto the bed and handcuffed. Deputies found a pistol holster near his right side, as well as a loaded Glock-style homemade 9mm pistol with an extended magazine under the bed.
Deputies say nearly two dozen cartridges with hollow-tip 9 mm ammunition were found, including the chamber round and the cartridges in the magazine.
In addition, the complaint states that the pistol did not have a serial number, where deputies said the lower half had a grip and trigger that appeared to be a ready-made pistol frame, while the sled and rail appeared to be from a Glock, but no serial number. Documents say that after firing the gun in the sheriff’s office, the weapon was fired as a normal Glock would.
This spring, the school reported that one of the youths had “not been present for a while.” In response, the sheriff’s office told school staff not to go to the family home without law enforcement because “the whole family is anti-government” and “it is very likely that a dangerous situation on the home could escalate quickly.”
On Wednesday, online records show that Gardas’ wife, 37-year-old Chelsea Gardas, has been remanded in custody and is accused of having helped a perpetrator avoid arrest.
Updates will be provided as more information becomes available. Be sure to refresh your page to make sure you see the latest report.
An earlier version of this report can be found below.
INTRODUCTORY REPORT: 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS trace an apparent standoff in St. Louis. Michael, where authorities have been stationed since at least 9:30 a.m. Tuesday night.
Authorities have set up a command center on Kady Avenue. Several agencies are on site.
A photographer with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reported having heard what is believed to be a shot while monitoring the situation overnight.
With little information available at present, some neighbors have expressed concern.
“You think you’re protected here, you’re a little bit safe, but then you realize that nowhere is immune to things going on,” said St. Michael resident Thomas Kammann.
Get back for updates as 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS works to learn more from Wright County officials.