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Police detain man in Grand Forks standoff

Grand Forks SWAT team members surveil the south Grand Forks residence that a man berricaded himself in for nearly three hours Sunday April 28, 2013 before surrendering to police. JOHN STENNES/GRAND FORKS HERALD

GRAND FORKS – A Grand Forks man is in custody after an hours-long standoff Sunday near the Grand Cities Mall.

Steven R. Bonderud, 25, of Grand Forks, is charged with burglary, arson and felony criminal mischief in the standoff.

There were no casualties during the incident. Bonderud was taken to Altru Hospital for mental evaluation.

At 10:24 a.m., authorities received a phone call from a woman who said an unknown man had broken into her home at 1707 S. 17th St. in Grand Forks, said Grand Forks Lt. Mike Ferguson.

Police responded to the call, and the Grand Forks Fire Department also arrived after police noticed smoke coming from the home. Police and other authorities set up a perimeter around the home and evacuated at least two churches in the area after learning the intruder was armed.

Around 1:30 p.m., a loud bang was heard near the home. Ferguson confirmed the noise was a “flash-bang” grenade, used by police. Flash-bangs are typically used to stun assailants before capturing them.

The man surrendered to police around 2 p.m. after hours of negotiations. Police recovered a handgun and firefighters extinguished a small fire in the home.

The intruder was identified only as a 25-year-old man from Grand Forks. Charges have not yet been filed against the man.

Ferguson was quick to point out the support civilian responders gave responding agencies.

Bethel Lutheran Church, one of the churches evacuated, was used by authorities as a command center to coordinate the efforts of those responding.

Ferguson said several special units were used to capture the man, including the Regional Bomb Squad, Crisis Negotiations Team and K-9 units. Other agencies also assisted, including University Police Department and U.S. Border Patrol.

“We had our entire day shift out here, and we had to call in more people as the day went on,” Ferguson said.

“If anyone deserves accolades, it’s Bethel Lutheran Church,” he said. “They did a fantastic job letting us use their facility after we had evacuated them.”

Dozens of people gathered near the perimeter to watch the incident. Residents in the area huddled on the front porches and lawns of their homes, and other bystanders lined the sidewalks.

Grand Cities Mall was not evacuated during the standoff. Bobby Perez, who was attending Hope Church, said the church was evacuated around 10:30 a.m.

“I couldn’t even get my car out of the parking lot, so I had to walk a couple blocks to my mother- and father-in-law’s house,” Perez said.

“It’s been a pretty intense day.”

Article written by Robb Jeffries of the Forum News Service

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