Front-end loader used to take house apart and end ND standoffNew Town Police Chief Art Walgren said the heavy equipment was used shortly before 10 a.m. to “dismantle the house” to end the standoff that lasted more than 24 hours.
By: Staff reports, Forum Communications Co.
NEW TOWN, N.D. — Law enforcement used a front-end loader to break into a New Town home and end a standoff with an armed man Thursday morning.
New Town Police Chief Art Walgren said the heavy equipment was used shortly before 10 a.m. to “dismantle the house” to end the standoff that lasted more than 24 hours.
“The house is only about half of what it was,” Walgren said.
No shots were fired while taking the suspect into custody. FBI spokesman Kyle Loven identified the man taken into custody as Michael Jason Smith, 32. He said no one was injured. Smith faces narcotics charges in Colorado and will likely face additional charges in North Dakota, Loven said. Walgren said Smith was being taken to the Mountrail County jail.
Ten to 15 houses were evacuated in the neighborhood 402 Ninth St. N. in New Town after the man barricaded himself inside. Nearby New Town schools also went into lockdown because of the standoff.
“He refused to give up after numerous attempts to use tear gas,” Walgren said.
Even after the front-end loader was deployed, tear gas was needed to apprehend the suspect.
SWAT teams from Minot and Bismarck worked together to end the standoff.
Walgren said it was unclear if Smith had any connection to the home before the standoff that started early Wednesday.
Loven said Smith has multiple outstanding warrants in Colorado. “That’s how he came on our radar,” Loven said.
Authorities learned he was at the New Town home and tried to take him into custody. “Smith was clearly uncooperative and barricaded himself in the residence,” Loven said.
Loven said there had been other people at the home who left, but he would not elaborate.
Michael Jason Smith’s address is listed on North Dakota court records as Centennial, Colo. He was arrested June 28 in North Dakota in McKenzie County and charged in state district court there with being a felon illegally possessing a weapon, a Class C felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison. He also was charged with two misdemeanor drug possession charges. When he failed to appear for a court hearing, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest in October, according to state court records. McKenzie County borders Mountrail County in the Oil Patch of western North Dakota.
This is the second high-profile FBI investigation in New Town recently. Nov. 19, three children and their grandmother died in a shooting at a New Town home. The suspected gunman in that shooting, New Town resident Kalcie Eagle, killed himself later that day.
Loven said that investigation is ongoing and the FBI plans to release a synopsis of its investigation after it’s complete.
The incident occurred less than a week after the fatal school shootings in a town with a similar name — Newtown, Conn.