A man who was involved in a standoff with police in St. Michael faces multiple charges consisting of attempted murder, assault, illegal possession of firearms and drug possession.
Brandon Lee Gardas, 39, was shot by police after a two-day standoff at his home. A woman and three children safely left the home during the standoff.
Gardas faces two counts of first-degree attempted murder of a police officer; two counts of first-degree assault and the use of deadly force against a police officer; prosecutor, judge or corrections employee; two counts of illegally possessing a firearm; one count of second-degree drug possession; one count of making violent threats; one count of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon; and one count of fifth-degree drug possession.
Court records show that Gardas has a bail of $10 million without conditions and $5 million with conditions. The judge also noted in the paperwork on Monday that the bail set for Gardas is due to "very significant concerns of public safety."
A criminal complaint details the following:
On June 20, just before 6:30 p.m., a Wright County Sheriff's Deputy went to a house where an incident involving a gun happened. The home is located on the 500 block of Central Avenue Northeast in St. Michael.
The 911 caller told officers that Gardas, who lives at the home, told him to come over because he "needed a man of God at his home." A criminal complaint states that the man who went to his home, Gardas' pastor, had a gun pointed at him that night.
On June 21, police learned that Gardas assaulted his wife. Authorities were able to obtain a search warrant on his property, due to the fact he had two outstanding warrants at the time for illegally possessing a gun. Gardas was arrested later that same day, according to the complaint.
There was a belief that Gardas may have had a high-powered assault rifle in his possession at the time. Authorities chose to surround his home to ensure the area was safe before they contacted Gardas, evacuating some nearby homes in the area in advance of them making contact with the St. Michael man.
A complaint states, at about 4:20 p.m. on June 21, law enforcement requested that everyone inside the home come out. Police believed at the time that only Gardas and his teenage son were inside. Following repeated warnings, authorities made entry to the front door just before 5:30 p.m. and used an armored vehicle to deploy chemical substance into the house.
Shortly after 6 p.m., Gardas' son came outside. According to the complaint, officers then deployed more chemical agents inside the home to get Gardas to surrender. Then, just before 7 p.m., Gardas called 911 dispatchers and stated that he was going to start "shooting at police" if they "didn't back up from his home." Gardas began shooting at officers, hitting a vehicle and another armored vehicle used by the responding SWAT team while police were inside the vehicle.
The complaint states that one of the bullets fired by Gardas missed a deputy's head "by a few inches."
Gardas would again fire at the armored police vehicle after briefly speaking with officers. He also threatened the surrounding neighborhood in the process, just after 9:30 p.m.
Gardas' home was "tactically dismantled" to help officers create better sight lines. Xcel Energy also cut power to the home shortly after 1:30 a.m. on June 22.
At about 7 p.m. on June 22, the criminal complaint says police from several agencies entered the home and arrested Gardas, who was hiding underneath some blankets. He also failed to comply at the time of the arrest, firing more shots at officers. One deputy from Wright County returned fire, hitting no one.
Another officer from St. Cloud returned fire and struck Gardas. Gardas was taken to a hospital and is since recovering from his injuries.
No officers were hurt in the entire incident.
According to the complaint, a search warrant at the home found three AK-47s, two AR-15s, a shotgun, multiple handguns and rifles, more than 12,400 rounds of ammunition and other gun components, vests and ballistic helmets, as well as some small quantities of drugs.