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Grand Forks standoff suspect faces raft of charges

During a 90-minute standoff Sunday at the Select Inn in Grand Forks, Ryan Ronald Edward Mountain warned police not to break in because he had a pistol and a hostage and if they forced the door, "by then it would be too late."...

Ryan Mountain
Ryan Mountain was arrested in Grand Forks Sunday following a standoff at a motel.

During a 90-minute standoff Sunday at the Select Inn in Grand Forks, Ryan Ronald Edward Mountain warned police not to break in because he had a pistol and a hostage and if they forced the door, "by then it would be too late."

That's the account police gave of the early morning incident Sunday at the motel at 4100 Gateway Drive, near Interstate 29.

Mountain, 32, appeared Monday in state district court in Grand Forks on a raft of previous charges as well as three new felony counts from Sunday's confrontation.

Police know Mountain well, which probably aided Sgt. Kevin Kallinen who was able to talk him into surrendering.

Going back to 1999, Mountain has a criminal record of dozens of charges in Grand Forks and Fargo, including several convictions on felonies involving drugs and violence in recent years that sent him behind bars for months at a time.

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Mountain remains in the Grand Forks County jail.

One of two other people in the motel room with him Sunday, Jessica Kirchoffner, 22, appeared Monday in court, via interactive TV from the jail, on two felony drug counts from Sunday's incident. Police say they found her in possession of two separate bags of methamphetamine powder.

Kirchoffner spent several months behind bars in 2011 and 2012 on drug-related felonies and had a Fargo address then.

Brian Noyes, 37, also was in the motel room Sunday, apparently tabbed by Mountain as his hostage. Noyes told police he feared for his safety when Mountain ordered him to stay in the room. He was not charged in the incident.

Jason McCarthy, assistant state's attorney for Grand Forks County, asked Judge Karen Braaten to revoke Mountain's bond on some of the many charges facing him, saying he had missed court appearances and failed court-ordered drug tests as recently as this month.

"He tested positive for amphetamines and methamphetamines on Sept. 10," McCarthy told Braaten. "That certainly is consistent with Mr. Mountain's behavior over the weekend and his interactions with law enforcement."

Incident Sunday

Mountain tried to interrupt McCarthy as he was reading the new charges against him in court, apparently to argue about the allegations. McCarthy said he simply was basing the charges on the police affidavit of probable cause.

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In it, Police Cpl. Robert Buelow said he found Mountain at the Select Inn about 6 a.m. Sunday to serve a warrant on him from previous felony charges. Reaching a man on the phone in Room 208, Buelow said the man "stated 'I would not come in here if I were you. I have a pistol and a hostage.'"

Buelow said he backed off and waited for other officers to arrive. More than a dozen, including SWAT members, showed up. Officers confirmed Mountain was in the room, with another man and a woman.

Mountain then told police he had barricaded the door and that "we would not be able to get in very quick and by then it would be too late," Buelow said.

Sgt. Kallinen "talked Ryan out of the room," according to Buelow.

Police found a broken window, gashes in the motel room walls from a knife and Mountain's initials spray-painted on the wall, but no gun, according to court documents and charges.

Syringes for ingesting meth were found, and baggies containing meth, as well as a laptop computer stolen from OfficeMax.

Noyes told police he saw Mountain put a needle in his arm and that Mountain had ordered him to "get behind the night stand and stated he did not feel free to leave," and was scared for his life, according to Buelow.

In court Monday, Mountain wrangled with Judge Braaten for a time, saying he did not understand the felonious restraint charge against him. She directed him to have a quick talk with his attorney, Jay Knudson, who had been appointed to represent him on previous cases.

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Other charges

Mountain said he can't remember the last time he had a job. "I was doing tattoos for a while," he told Braaten. But he said he had no money, no possessions, no home.

"Do you have any children," Braaten asked.

Yes, he said.

How many?

"Four or five, I don't know," Mountain said. He pays no child support, he told Braaten.

Mountain faces three felony counts from Sunday: felonious restraint using terrorizing, possessing paraphernalia to use meth and criminal mischief of more than $2,000 damage to the room. Each count has a maximum penalty of five years in prison. He also was charged with a Class A misdemeanor of theft of the $650 laptop.

Braaten ordered Mountain to have no contact with Kirchoffner and Noyes.

Mountain also faces earlier felonies, including for a July 26 incident in which an East Grand Forks man who knew him said a masked man he recognized as Mountain robbed him at gunpoint on 14th Avenue South near Altru Health System's campus, hitting him with the handgun and bloodying his face.

Police arrested Mountain later July 26 at the home on Cherry Street of a woman with whom he has a young child.

Mountain faces a Class A felony count of robbery using violence, threats and a gun from the July 26 incident, which carries a top penalty of 20 years in prison, as well as lesser felonies from that day.

Police say evidence found July 26 in a search links Mountain to a July 3 incident in which the woman on Cherry Street said he threatened her and fired several shots at her.

Also in early July, he was found unconscious in a car accident in Grand Forks. The routine blood test done at the time came back from a state lab showing traces of amphetamines and methamphetamines, leading to more charges filed this month.

Mountain will remain in jail at least until his next appearance next month on several charges.

Call Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1237; or send email to slee@gfherald.com .

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