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Near miss: Residential shooting barely avoided

A patrol officer was pulling his trigger when the crouching, male suspect allegedly pointing a semi-automatic handgun at him finally threw it to the ground and surrendered. This was late Sunday night in the 600 block of Sunset Lane. A 27-year-old man who lives there was later charged with two felonies and drunk driving.

River Falls police responded to the address after a complaint that a moped driver had run a stop sign and almost caused a crash.

A 19-year-old Hayward man followed the suspect to Sunset Lane. He allegedly began circling the house and argued with the moped driver who lived there about being cut off.

By the time an officer responded, the 27-year-old man was back in his house. Because he thought he heard a noise, he came out again, allegedly armed and going around the side of his house. The officer who approached shined a flashlight on him, saw the gun, and pulled out his own weapon, calling on the man to drop his gun.

When that didn't happen, the officer said he got ready to shoot. Just then the man tossed his gun aside and dropped down. Other officers arrived and the suspect was quickly handcuffed and taken into custody.

Police dealt with a high load of cases this past week:

--Arrested the 32-year-old owner of a downtown bar for drunk driving and hit-and-run in the 100 block of East Maple Street at 12:15 a.m. Sunday. The man was later found in his own bar. He allegedly had backed from a parking space into a traffic lane and hit a pickup truck driver.

--Arrested a 42-year-old local man for drunk driving and hit-and-run at Kwik Trip at 1:40 a.m. Sunday. The man allegedly smashed into a gas pump and drove off. He later said he was distracted by a cheese stick he'd dropped in his lap and panicked after the collision. Officers had to scour the area until they found the man's banged-up car parked in his driveway on Washington Street.

--Arrested a 20-year-old Oakdale, Minn., man for drunk driving and drug paraphernalia possession in the 1200 block of North Main Street by Quarry Road at 12:45 a.m. Saturday. The man was said to be speeding, swerving and passing other northbound vehicles. His car was searched and a pill bottle with marijuana stems and a glass pipe with pot residue were allegedly found.

--Arrested a 21-year-old UW-RF student for disorderly conduct in the 900 block of South Main Street at 1:55 a.m. last Wednesday. A patrolling officer reported the male student was bent over another man on the sidewalk, also a UW-RF student, and was repeatedly striking his face. The assailant was said to be upset by a crude remark the man made and had chased him for blocks before tackling and punching him.

--Arrested a 20-year-old rural River Falls man for going through cars and stealing in the 1000 block of East Cascade Avenue last Thursday at 2:40 a.m. The suspect fled from police, dashing through yards but failing to vault over a retaining wall. Falling back after hitting his knees, he was caught by pursuing officers. A number of stolen items from unlocked parked cars that had been tossed over a fence were recovered. The man said he was drinking at Glen Park, then at downtown bars before he decided to look for valuables in cars. He said he was poor and looking for things to sell.

--Arrested a 44-year-old local woman for disorderly conduct in the Kwik Trip parking lot last Tuesday night. The woman allegedly went after a younger woman with what was first described as a baseball bat but later turned out to be a 2 ½ foot wooden dowel. The suspect said the other woman was threatening her daughter and she wanted it stopped. She later agreed that her confrontational approach by holding a club was probably wrong.

--Investigating three burglaries, including over the weekend at Little New York, which is inside the corner downtown building that houses Beyond Lighting. The intruder may have hidden inside the shop after closing and then taken cash from a till before leaving through the back door.

--Investigating a battery in the parking lot of Swede's service station, at 1 a.m. Sunday. The victim, a UW-RF male student, had a bloody gash above the eye that required stitches. Suspects and others involved say the incident stems from a continuing feud between the university's hockey and football teams. The suspect in the beating is a football player. Tensions between the two groups started earlier at the Ground Zero bar. The case has gone to the district attorney for charges.

For more, read the April 21 print edition of the River Falls Journal.