A 42-year-old man has been charged with felony threats of violence and fleeing police following a standoff near the Maplewood Mall.
Dennis Duane Vann, of Cambridge, was found with a possible explosive device in his RV, which police say was shaped like a pig and had "F--- the police" scrawled on it.
The incident prompted a partial lockdown outside the mall on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20, with a criminal complaint stating it started when Cub Foods employees called police asking for help removing RV out of its parking lot at 2390 White Bear Avenue North.
Police learned that the RV belonged to Vann, who had a revoked driver's license and a warrant for his arrest in Kanabec County.
Officers knocked on the RV door and no one answered. A short time later the RV left the parking lot, prompting officers to follow and attempt to pull the vehicle over.
Instead, the RV accelerated to the point that pursuit was called off, although police maintained visual contact until it pulled into a parking lot near Maplewood Mall.
'Free citizen' doesn't need to follow laws
It was outside the mall where officers made contact with Vann, who is described being agitated and frustrated during communication with police, claiming he didn't see police lights flashing while he was driving before refusing to get out of his RV.
Police told Vann that he was being stopped for a revoked license and a broken taillight, to which Vann said he didn't need a driver's license and that as a "free citizen" he's not required to follow traffic laws.
When told he had an outstanding warrant and warned he'd be forcibly moved if he didn't get out of the RV, Vann allegedly said doing this would be a huge mistake "because two people would die today, that's f---ing why."
Vann then reached down toward a space between the seats in the RV, the complaint says, which forced the officers to back off and set up a perimeter.
More officers and the Ramsey County SWAT team arrived at the scene, before Vann told police he had a "great big boom," indicating that a bomb was in his glove compartment.
That threat forced an evacuation of surrounding businesses and the St. Paul bomb squad was called in.
Officer fired chemical rounds into the RV's front passenger window, forcing Vann to the back of the RV while a bomb squad robot began removing the RV's rear door.
The robot removed curtains and blankets that Vann covered windows with, and then the robot was used to deploy more chemical irritant inside the RV.
Vann leaned out a window for fresh air and eventually crawled out the window on a police order and was arrested.
Inside the RV was the pig-shaped device that had "f--- the police" written on it. The pig was holding what the complaint describes as an energetic powder that appeared to be an explosive device.
Tests are being done to determine if the pig qualifies as an explosive device.