March ends on a wild note for police, schools
It was a wild end to March as police were kept busy on Tuesday, March 27 with two incidents involving reports of individuals who may have weapons. In one incident, several schools were placed under containment for nearly an hour.
Following precautionary containment due to a possible external threat, normal activity resumed at five Forest Lake schools and the ISD 831 office after an all-clear from the Forest Lake Police Department around 3:40 p.m. on March 27.
At the advice of police, the district activated containment procedures around 2:55 p.m. at Forest Lake High School, Century Junior High, Forest Lake Elementary, Forest View Elementary, the Central Learning Center and the district office. FLPD’s request was prompted by sightings of a suspicious individual in the vicinity of several schools.
A report of a juvenile male, possibly with a handgun, sparked the crisis situation. The incident developed when a parent alerted Washington County authorities that his son may be a threat to himself and possibly had a weapon.
Forest Lake Capt. Greg Weiss said the youth was believed to be on Goodview Avenue between Forest Lake High School and Century Junior High, according to three citizen reports. After the report was made, Weiss said schools initiated the containment procedure within a minute, following established protocol.
Weiss said the youth in question was located by police at approximately 4:20 p.m. on the north side of Forest Lake along Highway 61 near the Highway 8 overpass. Weiss said the boy was from this area.
The school incident had no connection to another police incident on the same afternoon on Heath Avenue north of TH-97 where officers were called to check on the welfare of a man who was reportedly depressed and had guns in the house.
Numerous police officers and medical personnel were on scene from 1:51 until just after 4 p.m., but cleared when it became evident to officers that the man was not a threat, Weiss said. The man, who was not identified, was not held.
A squadron of police cars, supported by multiple ambulances from North Ambulance, responded to the call.
Graffiti taggers were at work in Forest Lake during the March 24-25 weekend.
Four buildings were targets and the taggers showed no fear of the law. One of the buildings hit was the south wall of the Forest Lake Police Department, 220 N. Lake St.
Weiss said four buildings, including the police station, were hit in the late night or early morning hours. And it wasn’t all polite or artful writings.
The three business locations were marked with the slogan “Gods of Green” or GOG, Weiss said. At the police station, the graffiti was more pointed.
The police department south wall was painted with “F—K the police” Weiss said the graffiti was removed and police are investigating the incident.
Weiss said police are also attempting to learn what the “Gods of Green” reference may hold.
A grocery store in Wyoming was the target of burglars early Sunday morning, March 25. An employee at Bruce’s Foods, 5358 Wyoming Trail, discovered the break-in at 5:33 a.m.
According to the Wyoming Police Department, someone smashed in the front door to gain entry. An undetermined quantity of cigarettes were stolen, police said.
Wyoming police are continuing their investigation. No arrests have been made.
In a Forest Lake burglary attempt, a resident in the 9000 block of N. 207th St. discovered a burglary attempt in progress at 10:12 a.m., Thursday, March 29. The resident confronted the male subject. The victim told police the suspect pulled a silver revolver from his waistband and pointed it at the homeowners and said “get back.” He fled in a vehicle.
Capt. Weiss said the man may be the same subject wanted in connection with a similar situation in Polk County, WI, the same day. The suspect, who was driving a black in color Lincoln MKZ with Wisconsin plates, was described as a white male, 60-70 years old, gray hair, wearing dress pants and a white button up shirt with a chauffeur or fedora type hat.
In Anoka County District Court last Friday, Reid Otis Smith, 35, was sentenced to 144 months in prison for assaulting his father, Otis David Smith, 81. The assault took place in East Bethel on March 31, 2011.
Following a jury trial, Smith was found guilty of assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree and terroristic threats. Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo said the case was a result of family issues erupting into a violent confrontation between father and son.
During testimony, the elder Smith testified that his son repeatedly hit him in the head and body with his fists and household objects, and threatened to kill him.
Because of the seriousness of the assault, the prosecution asked for a longer sentence than recommended by sentencing guidelines. The sentence exceeded the normal sentencing range for the crime by 41 months.