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Atwater man enters plea in armed standoff

WILLMAR -- James Arthur Hinman, 46, of Atwater, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a second-degree assault charge for assaulting a woman with a loaded 12-gauge shotgun in June. The incident led to an armed standoff with sheriff's deputies.

As part of a plea agreement in Kandiyohi County District Court, four additional felony charges will be dismissed -- use of deadly force against a peace officer or correctional employee, domestic assault, terroristic threats and wearing a bullet-resistant vest during the commission of a crime and terroristic threats. A gross misdemeanor for domestic assault also will be dismissed. He will be sentenced Oct. 18.

The charges were filed after Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputies responded to a domestic incident involving a firearm around 7:25 p.m. June 7 along U.S. Highway 12 in rural Atwater.

A citizen reported that he had observed a man and a woman wrestling over a shotgun in the garage of a home and that the shotgun had discharged at least twice while they were fighting over the weapon.

When officers arrived, the woman said Hinman was inside the home and had several loaded weapons. She was escorted safely away from the scene.

The woman said that Hinman was angry and upset as he had been laid off from his work and that a vehicle had been repossessed. She said he had an argument with another person, assaulted that person and then began loading a shotgun and shooting it in the air.

She said she asked him to give her the gun, to which he refused and said, "Nope, I'm going to die." He pointed the gun at her multiple times and at himself, slapped her, threatened her life and choked her.

She advised officers that he had thrown the gun into some pine trees in the yard and that he had other guns in the home.

The deputies set up a perimeter around the home and attempted to contact Hinman with a public address system. A deputy saw Hinman level the barrel of a shotgun and point it at the deputies, who then moved farther away from the home.

A short time later, Hinman came out into the garage of the home, wearing a military-style, bullet-resistant vest, but not in possession of a weapon. The officers were able to circle around him and take him into custody. The vest was loaded with shotgun shells that had not been fired.

Three loaded shotguns and three spent shotgun shells were found in the home and yard.

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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