Suspect in St. Paul Park standoff identified; criminal charges expectedA nearly five-hour standoff early Tuesday in St. Paul Park ended when a 22-year-old man who repeatedly shot at law enforcement was hit by police sniper fire, said state investigators, who identified the suspect as Nathan A. Kluessendorf.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
A nearly five-hour standoff early Tuesday in St. Paul Park ended when a 22-year-old man who repeatedly shot at law enforcement was hit by police sniper fire, state investigators said.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension identified the suspect as Nathan A. Kluessendorf, who lives at the house at 1049 Summit Ave., where he armed himself with a shotgun and rifle and holed up for over four hours, sporadically firing rounds toward police and sheriff’s deputies outside, authorities said.
The BCA said Kluessendorf was shot by Cottage Grove police officer Patrick Nickle, a marksman who has worked with the department for eight years and has been a member of the Washington County Special Response Team for five years.
Kluessendorf, who was injured in the incident, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of attempted murder and assault on a police officer. He awaits formal charges.
His mother, Sandra K. Kluessendorf, 42, also was arrested Tuesday, but later released. Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said authorities initially believed she may have been aiding her son, but later concluded that facts surrounding the incident did not support that.
According to the BCA and Washington County Sheriff Bill Hutton:
Police were initially called around 1:30 a.m. on a report of a suicidal man walking on railroad tracks near Ninth and Pullman avenues. The man, identified as Kluessendorf, then went into the Summit Avenue home, where he armed himself with firearms.
St. Paul Park officers followed him into the home and made contact with other adults inside before being approached by Kluessendorf, who was wielding a firearm. Hutton said the officers exited the home safely and were later joined by the Special Response Team, a tactical unit of police from agencies throughout the county. That team was called in shortly before 3 a.m.
The BCA said Kluessendorf shot at officers from the St. Paul Park, Cottage Grove and Newport police departments and the sheriff’s office. Hutton said officers could hear bullets passing by their head and avoided being struck by the many rounds by hiding “as small as you can get.”
A county SWAT negotiator talked with Kluessendorf by phone at least three times. The suspect made suicidal comments and threatened law enforcement, Hutton said.
When the incident began there were three other adults in the home – Kluessendorf’s mother, another woman and a man. There were no children in the home. At one point, Sandra Kluessendorf exited the home and was arrested. The other two adults also left the home unharmed.
Kluessendorf continued to fire shots at police and was not complying with police orders, so authorities deployed tear gas into the home, Hutton said. Then, at about 6:30 a.m., Nickle, the Special Response Team member, shot Kluessendorf from outside the home. Kluessendorf was taken into custody and transported to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where he was being treated for his injuries.
No law enforcement officers were hit or injured during the incident.
“This was a very, very serious situation where he was trying to kill police officers,” Hutton said.
Nickle has served as a marksman for the Special Response Team for four years. Nickle is a Marine Corps veteran who served in combat duty in Afghanistan and has been in the Army Reserves for 17 years. He was placed on administrative leave, which is standard in an officer-involved shooting.
Orput, who was called to the scene shortly before Kluessendorf was shot, said authorities had a “very coordinated, very professional response” to a stressful situation.
“It’s high tension,” Orput said. “You’ve got a barricaded suspect, you know there’s not going to be a good outcome.”
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