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Loader used to ‘dismantle' house, end standoff in N.D.

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news Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

NEW TOWN, N.D. — Law enforcement used a front-end loader to break into New Town home and end a standoff with an armed man this morning.

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New Town Police Chief Art Walgren said used the piece of heavy equipment shortly before 10 a.m. to “dismantle the house” to the 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. Smith faces narcotics charges in Colorado and will likely face additional charges in North Dakota, Loven said.

“Through the use of nonlethal tactics, we were able to effect the surrender of Mr. Smith,” Loven said. He said no one was injured.

Walgren said Smith was being transported to the Mountrail County jail.

Walgren said law enforcement was still processing the house at 402 9th St. N. in New Town and streets around the crime scene would likely remain closed until late this afternoon. Ten to 15 houses were evacuated in the neighborhood 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.

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.

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