The site of a St. Michael standoff in June is now the location of a huge structural fire after flames were reported by witnesses shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022.
The property at 599 Central Avenue NE in St. Michael belongs to the Gardas family – which was the location of a standoff that lasted more than a full day back in late June.
Hanover and Albertville fire departments were assisting St. Michael Fire and Rescue with the blaze. Early reports state there are no injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Witnesses heard loud bangs coming from the property as the fire raged on. Wright County officials reported that Brandon Gardas, who is charged with attempted murder after the June 21 standoff, had an arsenal of weapons on the property including buckets of ammunition and multiple firearms.
The primary home on property was destroyed by law enforcement during the standoff. Officers used vehicles to ram the front and back entrances to the structure in an effort to gain access to the building and to Gardas, who fired multiple rounds at armored vehicles and at law enforcement on the scene.
Standoff Lasted Hours
Brandon Gardas is currently in Wright County Jail awaiting trail for the June 21 incident.
The 44-hour standoff that shut down portions of St. Michael and placed dozens of police officers in harms way.
Gardas, 39, who grew up just blocks away from the property where the showdown occurred, has been charged with multiple crimes from the standoff, including 1st Degree attempted murder of a peace officer, a crime that, if convicted, carries a penalty of 10 to 15 years in prison.
Gardas faces a host of other charges, including 2nd degree assault, 1st Degree criminal damage to property, terroristic threats, and a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, as well as multiple drug charges.
Warrants for Gardas’ arrest also included a pair of firearms charges.
Gardas wife, Chelsea Marie Gardas, 37, also of St. Michael, was briefly held in custody, and has since been released.
The standoff started with a domestic disturbance call, but no charges have been filed from that dispute. A neighbor said the two – Chelsea and Brandon – were arguing in the early morning hours of June 21, with Brandon seen carrying a rifle on the property.
According to reports: Wright County deputies monitored the scene for hours, knowing Gardas was well-armed, had a history of violence, and had warrants out for his arrest. After making contact with Brandon Gardas in the afternoon hours of June 21, the man locked himself in the home and fired shots into the area and the neighborhood. By Tuesday evening, the standoff was on, with authorities surrounding the home and gunshots and other armaments exchanged throughout the night.
The stalemate ended in the 8 p.m. hour Wednesday, June 22, when law enforcement agencies made the decision to fire back at the man, 39-year-old Brandon Gardas, who had fired on them multiple times since things escalated Tuesday evening.
Officials struck Gardas, injuring him. He was transported by air ambulance for treatment at a local hospital.
Wright County released this statement:
The standoff in St. Michael has ended. Suspect Brandon Gardas has been shot, but is alive. He was airlifted to a hospital. All law enforcement officers are safe and uninjured. The Wright County Sheriff’s Office will conduct a press conference Thursday to provide more details