Arsenal Found Inside Central Minnesota Home Following Stand-Off
The criminal complaint filed against the central Minnesota man who was shot by police following a more than 24-hour long standoff describes an arsenal of weapons and ammunition that was found inside his home.
39-year-old Brandon Lee Gardas of Saint Michael was arraigned today in Wright County Court on multiple counts of first-degree attempted degree attempted murder and other felony charges. His conditional bail was set at $5 million.
The court records say the standoff at Gardas' home began in the late afternoon of last Tuesday after the Wright County Emergency Response Team surrounded his residence and ordered him to come outside. He was wanted on a number of warrants and allegedly brandished a handgun during a confrontation with his pastor the previous day. The charging document also says law enforcement officials had information that Gardas was in possession of a high-powered assault rifle.
After repeated warnings for anyone inside the residence to get out, the decision was made to use a device attached to an armored vehicle to knock down the front door to the house and deploy chemical agents inside. About 15 minutes after that occurred Gardas' 13-year-old son came out of the house.
Additional chemical agents were then sprayed into the home and the criminal complaint alleges Gardas responded by threatening to open fire on the police officers at the scene. Shortly after that, bullets were fired from the home and struck two armored law-enforcement vehicles. The charges state that 1 of the rounds missed the head of a Wright County Sheriff's Deputy by only a few inches.
About two and half hours later, Gardas allegedly fired another 12 rounds at an armored vehicle, after which members of the Emergency Response Team begin "tactically dismantling" the house by removing windows and other portions of the structure to improve the ability of law officer's to see inside and locate Gardas.
The standoff continued through the next day until officers from the Wright County Sheriff's Office, the St. Cloud Police Department, and the Stearns County Sheriff's office stormed into the home around 7 PM and there was an exchange of gunfire. The complaint says Gardas was shot in the upper chest while he was shooting at the law officers. Despite the gunshot wound, the court record indicates he continued to resist and he was not taken into custody until after he was struck by a non-lethal round from a foam baton and shocked by a Taser.
The charges say a search of the house following his arrest led to the discovery and recovery of three AK-47 rifles, three AR-15 rifles, an M-14 carbine rifle, a shotgun, and four handguns. The search also led to the seizure of more than 12,400 rounds of ammunition and 8 ballistic Kevlar panels. Gardas, who was previously convicted of a crime of violence, was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.
Following his arrest, Gardas was airlifted to a Twin Cities hospital to be treated for his injuries. He was later discharged and is currently being held in the Wright County Jail.