Attempted murder charges filed in shooting of officer during warrant execution in Granite Falls, Minnesota
William Edward Schindler, 26, of Granite Falls, faces three first-degree attempted murder charges after an officer was shot Monday during the execution of a search warrant.
Editor's note: This story has been updated since original publication to correct that seven total charges are filed against the man alleged to have fired at officers executing the search warrant.
GRANITE FALLS — The man accused of shooting a law enforcement officer at a Granite Falls residence on Monday faces seven felony charges, including three counts of first-degree attempted murder of a peace officer.
The Yellow Medicine County Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint Wednesday that charges William Edward Schindler, 26, of Granite Falls, as the person who allegedly fired a 40-caliber pistol at officers entering the residence to execute a search warrant.
CEE-VI (Cooperative Enforcement Effort) Drug Task Force Agent Jason Hay, the second officer to enter the residence, was struck in the left torso by a bullet, and treated at the Avera Granite Falls Health Center and released that day.
The three attempted murder charges list as victims the three officers who entered the residence, including Hay.
The county also filed three felony charges of assault in the first degree — use of deadly force against a peace officer and a single felony charge of illegal possession of ammunition and a firearm against Schindler.
The assault charges list the same three officers as victims.
The first-degree attempted murder charges carry a possible prison sentence of 20 years. Schindler remained in custody in the Yellow Medicine County Jail as of Wednesday afternoon. Bail was set at $2 million in a court hearing on Wednesday.
According to the criminal complaint, officers were executing the search warrant shortly after 4 p.m. Monday at the residence on Bergeson Drive to apprehend Schindler on multiple felony warrants. He was a resident of the home, which is owned by Jordan Keith Ross.
A law enforcement team including several CEE-VI Task Force agents and at least six uniformed police officers approached the house. The defendant Schindler, the owner of the home Ross, and a third occupant of the house were in the downstairs area of the residence. They watched the officers approach the house using outside surveillance cameras, according to the complaint.
The third occupant — who does not appear to be currently charged in the matter, according to online court records available early Wednesday afternoon — later told law enforcement officers that Schindler said something which indicated that he did not intend to get arrested that day and ran upstairs before the officers reached the front door, according to the complaint.
As the first officer knocked on the front door, it appeared to be pulled open simultaneously from inside. The first agent announced “police, search warrant” and three agents entered the house and immediately took control of Ross.
About three seconds after Hay stepped into the entryway, the officers began taking gunfire from the upper level of the house, according to the complaint. Hay was struck by one of the shots and wounded in the lower torso. The two other officers and Ross were not struck by any of the shots and retreated outside.
A roughly 1½-hour standoff followed in which law enforcement attempted to persuade Schindler to come outside and surrender. Law officers learned during this time that there had been three occupants in the house when they arrived. The third occupant exited the residence and was taken into custody.
During the standoff, there were several phone conversations between Yellow Medicine County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Travis Peterson and Schindler. According to the complaint, Schindler asked if anyone got hit and said that “he never meant to shoot anyone.” Schindler came out of the residence and surrendered.
The house was cleared by a SWAT team, and no other individuals were located. During a follow-up investigation, the officers found a 40-caliber pistol hidden inside a hole in the wall in the residence. On the upper level of the house, investigators located 40-caliber casings. The complaint does not state how many casings were discovered.
Schindler has a previous criminal history including convictions for fifth-degree drug possession in Yellow Medicine County.
The warrant for the search included charges against Schindler for fifth-degree drug possession, illegal firearm possession and receiving stolen property.
Schindler made his first court appearance by remote video Wednesday on the attempted murder and other charges in Yellow Medicine County District Court.
Online court records show Ross also appeared Wednesday for a bail hearing on two felony charges — drug possession and possession of a short-barreled shotgun. He was in custody in Yellow Medicine County on $75,000 bail as of Wednesday afternoon.