NEW TOWN - A standoff with police in New Town that lasted at least 29 hours came to an end shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday, said FBI spokesman Kyle Loven. The Minneapolis FBI field office, with the Dakotas and Minnesota making up its territory, assumed jurisdiction early on Wednesday.
The first reports of the standoff, which led to extensive damage being done to a home in a neighborhood along East Central Avenue where the standoff took place, came in at 5 a.m. Wednesday.
"This was an adverse police action," Loven said. "The subject was uncooperative."
Submitted Photo • This photo shows the house in New Town that was rammed with a front-end loader to get Michael J. Smith out of his barricade.
Although Loven will not comment on whether shots were fired during the standoff, he did disclose that the damage to the home was caused by heavy equipment used to remove the suspect, Michael Jason Smith, 32, of Centennial, Colo. Loven does not know what will become of the ruined home or its undisclosed owners and residents but believes that matter will be turned over to Tribal Social Services.
"He is in state custody," Loven said. "There is a reason he didn't want to come out."
The subject is being held in jail in Mountrail County currently, but has warrants from elsewhere in the state and in his home state.
Officers use front-end loader to end standoff
By ELOISE OGDEN
NEW TOWN - When law enforcement officers ran out of options to get a Colorado man out of a house in New Town where he had barricaded himself, a front-end loader did the job.
Glenda Baker Embry, public information officer for the Three Affiliated Tribes, said law enforcement officers had tear gassed the house, cut the electricity and heat, shot out windows and used a megaphone to try to get the man out. Michael J. Smith of Colorado had barricaded himself inside.
Then early Thursday morning the Bismarck SWAT team who was on the scene asked Lt. Chad Johnson, of the tribal police, for permission to use a front-end loader on the house. The Bismarck SWAT team had relieved a Minot SWAT team who had been at the scene previously.
Johnson contacted Tex Hall, tribal chairman, and Ken Hall, New Town/Little Shell representative to the tribal business council, for permission to use the equipment on the house, Embry said. She said both gave their permission during those early morning hours before daybreak and a New Town/Little Shell community front-end loader was used.
The house, in the north part of New Town, is on fee land within the boundaries of the Fort Berthold Reservation, and the house is owned by the tribe, Embry said. Fee land is land not held in trust by the federal government.
"When asked about using the front-end loader, Chairman Hall said houses can be rebuilt but our people's lives come first, and we need to protect them," Embry said.
Court records turned up three different criminal counts in McKenzie County, N.D., all dating to June of this year. One was for possession of marijuana, another for possession of drug paraphernalia, and one was prohibited possession of a firearm by a felon.
In Colorado his criminal charges, with at least four different open cases, are not limited to Arapahoe County, his home. There he has charges for motor vehicle theft, and motor vehicle theft by a habitual offender and has active warrants issued against him for both counts, according to Arapahoe County district court.
A statewide search shows charges for weapons and methamphetamine charges in Denver County and felony drug charges and a misdemeanor in Adams County.
It is still unknown what connection Smith had to New Town or to the home that was torn apart in order to remove him.
Smith will face new charges here in North Dakota due to the standoff, but whether he will be held in the state and charged here or extradited back to Colorado to face charges there will be up to prosecutors from both states.