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4 arrested, 2 at large after hours-long standoff in northern Minn.

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A home on the 100 block of Mission Road SE in Cass Lake, where police used tear gas to force the occupants to flee the house after a woman reported she had been held at gunpoint there. Joe Bowen / Forum News Service2 / 3
A host of law enforcement personnel sat outside a home on the 100 block of Mission Road SE in Cass Lake shortly after removing several occupants with tear gas and a SWAT team. Joe Bowen / Forum News Service3 / 3

BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Two people are at large and four are in custody Thursday after an hours-long standoff near Cass Lake.

According a news release from the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement received a call at 3:40 a.m. March 16 from a “distraught” woman reporting she needed help. Sheriff Phil Hodapp said that while it was initially believed the woman had been held in a house at gunpoint, no one had actually been held captive.

Once officers arrived at the home, located on the 100 block of Mission Road Southeast, they realized there were multiple people in the house. SWAT personnel arrived at the scene and began trying to negotiate with the 10 people inside, who had begun barricading themselves in the house, Hodapp said.

A Code Red Alert was issued for the area at 6:09 a.m. asking those in the area to stay in their homes.

At about 7 a.m., SWAT eventually used tear gas to subdue those in the house, eight of whom then exited and were initially detained. Four of those people will be formally charged, Chief Deputy Ernie Beitel said.

Hodapp said that at some point during the incident two juveniles, at least one of whom was armed, escaped the house. They are currently at large, though law enforcement has declined to make their names public.  

The juveniles have multiple warrants for their arrests, Hodapp said.

Multiple law enforcement agencies were at the scene, including Leech Lake Tribal Police, the Bemidji Police Department and the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office. Most of them had left the area by 11 a.m.

Hodapp said no one was hurt and no shots were fired. The incident remains under investigation.

Grace Pastoor

Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or

(218) 333-9796