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St. Paul Park man sentenced to 10 years in prison for standoff with police

A St. Paul Park man will spend up to 10 years in prison for firing at police during a drunken standoff last year.

Nathan A. Kluessendorf, 23, was sentenced Nov. 2 for three felony charges of using deadly force against a peace officer during a nearly five-hour standoff at his St. Paul Park home Aug. 2, 2011. According to police and court records, Kluessendorf was intoxicated and suicidal during the incident that ended only after an officer shot and wounded him.

Kluessendorf was charged with six felonies, including three counts of attempted first-degree murder. He entered a Norgaard plea in August, acknowledging he was so intoxicated at the time that he could not recall his actions but believed a jury would find him guilty. He pleaded guilty to the three deadly force charges as part of the agreement. The murder charges were dismissed.

The charges stemmed from a tense early-morning altercation.

Police had been dispatched to assist with a suicidal male, later identified as Kluessendorf. Officers found Kluessendorf on the floor of his home, swearing at them and pumping a rifle as if preparing to shoot. Police set up outside the home as they attempted to make contact with Kluessendorf, who was inside with relatives and a friend, whom he threatened to shoot in the head at one point during the standoff.

The Washington County Special Response Team was called in, and officers surrounded the home. The criminal complaint said that Kluessendorf swore at the authorities, threatened to kill them and then fired multiple rounds at three officers hiding behind bullet-proof shields in the yard, some of the shots going so close to the officers that they could hear the bullets pass.

The standoff ended when authorities fired tear gas into the home and then a Cottage Grove police officer trained as a sharpshooter shot and injured Kluessendorf.

No law enforcement officers were injured in the standoff.

Kluessendorf was sentenced by Washington County District Court Judge Mary Hannon. He was ordered to serve his sentence at a St. Cloud prison and was given credit for already serving more than a year in custody.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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