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Man who attacked Menards worker, hit police officer with hammer is charged

The incident started at a Menards in Hutchinson and continued with a slow-speed pursuit, ending when the officer being injured.

The 61-year-old man accused of injuring a police officer and assaulting a Menards employee over a face mask policy has been charged. 

Luke Alvin Oeltjenbruns, of Hutchinson, is charged with one count of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and one count fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle-bodily injury, all felonies, in connection to an incident captured on bystander video that went viral.

He was arrested Wednesday and booked into the McLeod County Jail at 4:50 p.m., the jail roster shows

According to the criminal complaint filed Friday, Hutchinson police Officer Steven Sickmann and Sgt. Alicia Nortrom responded to Menards at 1525 Montreal St. SE at 1:50 p.m. Wednesday on a report of an assault. 

Menards employees provided a description of the suspect, with police determining the suspect is Oeltjenbruns, charges said. Surveillance video from the store shows Oeltjenbruns pushing a cart filled with long pieces of lumber. 

Video showed a Menards employee stopped near the side of the cart and Oeltjenbruns began to "jab" the employee with one of the pieces of wood. The Menards employee told police he saw Oeltjenbruns approach the checkout not wearing a mask and he told him he had to put a mask on. 

Oeltjenbruns tried to push his cart past the worker, but the worker grabbed the cart. That's when Oeltjenbruns hit the worker with the lumber and tried to leave again, only to have the worker grab the cart again. Then Oeltjenbruns struck the worker "five or six times" in the head with his hand. The worker had a headache and had a raised red mark on his forehead. 

Sickmann and Nortrom were investigating at Menards while Hutchinson officer Niki Cappelen located Oeltjenbruns vehicle in the Walmart parking lot. 

Cappelen attempted to stop Oeltjenbruns' vehicle but it proceeded to drive "slowly" away from Cappelen, charges say. Capplelen continued to follow the vehicle with her siren blaring. 

The vehicle eventually stopped at a red light near South Grade Road and Highway 15 South, at which point Cappelen got out of her vehicle with her weapon drawn, the complaint says. Sgt. Nortrom and officer Aaron Berry also approached the vehicle with their weapons drawn. 

Oeltjenbruns rolled down his window a "couple of inches" and Cappelen told him he was at gunpoint, to which he responded he didn't care and to shoot him, charges state.

Oeltjenbruns ignored commands to get out of the vehicle and drove east on South Grade Road Southwest, then turned onto South Highway 15, charges say. Nortrom, Berry, Cappelen followed and Sickmann blocked with his squad car the intersection of Highway 15 South and Freemont Avenue Southeast.

Officers surrounded Oeltjenbruns' vehicle with squad cars and he was again told to open the window and get out of the vehicle. He said "no" and shook his head, the complaint says.

Sickmann approached the vehicle in "an attempt to deescalate the situation," according to the complaint. The officer explained to Oeltjenbruns that he matched the description of a man who assaulted an employee at Menards. Oeltjenbruns refused to comply and was told that officers would break his window to get him out of the truck if he didn't comply. 

"Sickmann got up on the running board on the driver's side of defendant's truck and reached in through the window. The defendant grabbed Officer Sickmann's right arm and closed the window on it, trapping Officer Sickman's arm. The defendant then drove the truck forward into a squad car," charges state.

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Oeltjenbruns then backed into another squad car, and continued "bashing his vehicle against the squad cars with Officer Sickmann still trapped on the side of the truck until he was able to escape and drove north on Highway 15 at a high rate of speed," which was caught on the video shared above.

Oeltjenbruns stopped near the intersection of Highway 15 and South Grade Road, which had been blocked by squad cars, charges state.

"When the defendant stopped, Officer Sickmann was able to retrieve a rescue hammer used for breaking vehicle windows and attempted to use it to break the window. The defendant took the hammer from Officer Sickmann and struck him on the top of the head with it," the complaint says.

Officers eventually arrested Oeltjenbruns.

Sickmann was taken to the hospital, where he received eight metal staples for the wound on his head and he had a large abrasion on his arm, charges say. He has been released from the hospital and is at home recovering, the McLeod County Sheriff's Office said on Thursday.

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