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Video on social media site leads to felony gun charge for Brooten, Minn., man

WILLMAR — A video clip posted to Facebook has resulted in a felony charge against a Brooten man who is prohibited from possessing firearms because he has previously been convicted of a violent crime.

David Lawrence Pillatzki Jr., 36, made his first court appearance Thursday on one felony count of possession of a pistol or assault weapon after conviction of a violent crime and one gross misdemeanor count of possession of a weapon after a felony conviction.

Unconditional bail was set at $50,000. His next appearance is Tuesday in Kandiyohi County District Court.

In addition, a felony charge for fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, plus a gross misdemeanor charge of driving after cancellation – inimical to public safety and misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and fleeing an officer on foot that had been previously filed against Pillatzki have been re-filed in District Court. The charges had been dismissed by the County Attorney’s office three days after they were initially filed.

Pillatzki also faces another gross misdemeanor charge of driving after cancellation – inimical to public safety for allegedly driving a vehicle Tuesday when CEE-VI Drug Task Force Agents arrested him on a warrant. The arrest happened in New London.

According to the complaint on the gun charges, a CEE-VI agent located a video clip on Pillatzki’s Facebook page in December that showed Pillatzki firing a semi-automatic assault-type rifle in a rural setting.

Pillatzki allegedly admitted to investigators that he shot the rifle, an M16 or AR-15 type rifle, at a rural area near Hawick in the summertime and that someone recorded the activity and posted it on the social networking site.

The fleeing and related charges were filed after Nov. 13, when Pillatzki allegedly fled from a Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s deputy on a motorcycle at speeds reaching 80 mph between Spicer and New London. According to the complaint, a deputy sheriff was attempting to serve a subpoena and an arrest warrant on Pillatzki. When the officer neared Pillatzki’s home in Spicer, he saw a man on a motorcycle that the officer suspected belonged to Pillatzki because the officer had seen the cycle at Pillatzki’s home. The man was wearing a full face helmet. A white pit bull-type dog, which the officer knew to belong to Pillatzki, acted as if it was very familiar with the man on the cycle.

The deputy believed the man on the cycle was Pillatzki and activated the lights on his squad vehicle, attempting to stop the cycle, which sped away through yards, parking lots and around houses before going northbound on Highway 23. The pursuit reached speeds of 80 mph before turning into New London. The officer caught Pillatzki along Third Avenue Southeast after Pillatzki hit a curb, wiped out on the cycle and attempted to run away.

Pillatzki was convicted of second-degree burglary in 1996 and first-degree driving while impaired in July 2008.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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