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Brandon Gardas charged with attempted murder after daylong standoff in St. Michael

ST. MICHAEL, Minn. — At least a dozen firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition were recovered from the home of a man who now faces several charges in connection to a standoff in St. Michael last week.

Brandon Gardas, 39, is charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of first-degree assault, possession of ammo or firearm after being convicted of a crime of violence, second- and fifth-degree drug possession and making violent threats. The charges were filed Monday in Wright County.

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Wright County

The standoff, which began Tuesday and stretched into Wednesday evening, ended after law enforcement shot Gardas and used less-lethal rounds and a Taser to subdue him.

According to the criminal complaint, Gardas had an altercation with his pastor at Gardas’ St. Michael home on June 20. During the incident, Gardas allegedly brandished a gun at the pastor. The complaint also alleges Gardas assaulted his wife a day later. Those two incidents, coupled with outstanding warrants, caused law enforcement to move to arrest Gardas.

By 4:20 p.m. on Tuesday, authorities had Gardas’ house surrounded. According to the complaint, law enforcement knew Gardas had a “high-powered assault rifle,” and that his 13-year-old son was in the home with him. Gardas’ wife and other children were apparently out of the home at the time.

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CBS

After giving warnings for about an hour, law enforcement breached the front door using an armored vehicle, then deployed chemical agents.

Just after 6 p.m., Gardas’ son exited the home.

According to the complaint, Gardas called Wright County dispatch at 7 p.m. and threatened to fire at the authorities surrounding his home unless they backed away. When they refused to relent, he made good on his promise, shooting at two St. Cloud SWAT vehicles. No officers were struck, the complaint states, though Gardas “came close to hitting” a deputy.

Around 8 p.m., authorities got Gardas on the phone, at which point he allegedly threatened to fire into the surrounding neighborhood. An hour after that, law enforcement began “tactically dismantling” the exterior of the home while commanding Gardas to exit. 

Around 9:40 p.m., Gardas shot at another armored vehicle, the complaint states.

Just after 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Xcel Energy killed power to Gardas’ home.

It was not until 7 p.m. on Wednesday that authorities decided to enter the home. Officers from several agencies went in and found Gardas hiding under some blankets with a rifle, the complaint states. He ran when officers shot him with less-lethal rounds.

Positioned at the top of a staircase, Gardas allegedly fired at officers pursuing him. An officer returned fire, hitting Gardas in the chest, according to the complaint, but he still “refused to cooperate or comply with commands from law enforcement.”

After authorities fired more less-lethal rounds and tased Gardas, they managed to arrest him.

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CBS

Gardas was taken to North Memorial Health hospital after the officer shot him. At the time, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said he was “awake and alert.”

According to the complaint, the following weapons and items were found in Gardas’ home:

  • Three AK-47s
  • Three AR-15s
  • A shotgun
  • Three 9mm handguns
  • A revolver
  • An M4 rifle
  • More than 12,000 rounds of ammunition
  • Body armor

Authorities also allegedly found marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms in the home.

Gardas remains in custody. His bail has been set at $5 million with conditions or $10 million unconditionally.


Source: CBS Minnesota

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