EGF standoff ends peacefully
A Grand Forks man receiving counseling at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Grand Forks for a "domestic situation" became angry and threatened to take his own life Tuesday morning before leading area police on a chase that ended after a two-hour s...
A Grand Forks man receiving counseling at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Grand Forks for a "domestic situation" became angry and threatened to take his own life Tuesday morning before leading area police on a chase that ended after a two-hour standoff at a south-end East Grand Forks residence.
Ron Nikle, 52, surrendered without incident just after noon, after area law enforcement officers spent two hours enduring stiff winds in the East Grand Forks Point neighborhood.
While at St. Michael's, Nikel became angry and threatened to hurt himself, according to Monsignor Wendelyn Vetter. That's when church officials notified the Grand Forks Police Department.
Vetter said nobody was in danger except Nikle. He said he could not elaborate on the situation that sparked Nikle's agitation.
Nikle, believed to be carrying a gun, fled from the responding officers about 10:15 a.m., leading a chase at speeds of 35 to 40 mph onto Gateway Drive and over the Kennedy Bridge into Minnesota, according to police. Police have not said what kind of gun Nikle was believed to be carrying.
When Nikle crossed state lines, East Grand Forks police joined in the chase. It ended at a yellow house at 1222 14th Ave. S.E. in East Grand Forks, where Nikle has relatives.
Two women were in the home when Nikle entered, police said. Police said the women were relatives of Nikle's but did not say how they were related to him. A woman who answered the telephone after the incident declined to talk about it.
Nikle entered the home and would not come out, according to East Grand Forks police, who directed the law enforcement efforts to get him out of the house.
The home quickly was surrounded by officers from the East Grand Forks and Grand Forks police departments and deputies from the Polk County and Grand Forks County sheriff's offices.
The Grand Forks Police Department offered assistance through their regional special operations group, which includes the SWAT and crisis negotiations teams, according to Grand Forks Lt. Jim Remer.
Homes in the neighborhood were evacuated as the situation was assessed, according to East Grand Forks Detective Rick Blazek.
Several blocks away from the home Nikle entered, East Grand Forks' Central Middle School and South Point Elementary School went into partial lock-down, which means all doors were locked and students were not allowed to leave their classrooms, according to middle school principal Bob Simonson. Teachers were aware of the situation, and the school was on alert, monitoring the entryways, he said.
After two hours, the standoff ended peacefully at about 12:20 p.m., as crisis negotiators and the two women were able to talk Nikle out of the home.
He left unarmed, with his hands held high, before he was handcuffed and helped into a waiting Altru ambulance. Nikle was transported to Altru Hospital for evaluation, Blazek said.
Nikle could be charged with fleeing from police in both Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. The incident remains under investigation by both jurisdictions.
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