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Man with gun prompts lockdown of school near Food-N-Fuel in Detroit Lakes

One man with a gun has been arrested following a dramatic scene near the Detroit Lakes Middle School/Roosevelt Elementary complex Tuesday. According to Detroit Lakes Police Chief Steve Todd, management at the Food-N-Fuel on Barbara Avenue, two bl...

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James Poitra

 One man with a gun has been arrested following a dramatic scene near the Detroit Lakes Middle School/Roosevelt Elementary complex Tuesday. According to Detroit Lakes Police Chief Steve Todd, management at the Food-N-Fuel on Barbara Avenue, two blocks away from the schools, called police about a suspicious man who was sleeping in a vehicle that had been sitting in the gas station's parking lot. The call came in at 3:14 p.m., so things started to unravel just as school was getting out.

"When our officer went to check and made contact with the person in the car, we saw he had a gun," said Todd, who says more than a dozen officers from every law enforcement agency in the immediate area quickly ascended upon the scene, as M State across Highway 34 was locked down and staff at the Middle School and Roosevelt Elementary tried to keep kids that were still there inside the school or at least directed southward, away from the scene. Because school was in the middle of letting out, some buses and students had already left, while others were still at the school. Officers set up a vehicle barricade to stop traffic and children from getting close to the area. 

"We didn't want any kids coming that way in case he started shooting at us," said Todd, who says officers worked for about eight minutes attempting to get the man to come out of the vehicle. "And then when he did get out, he refused to comply with commands so he could be secured. He was wearing some clothing that we couldn't tell if he had anything hidden."

Officers were able to apprehend the man without further incident or any shots fired. He is identified as 37 year old James Poitra from Detroit Lakes. Poitra is being held on several charges including Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Possession of Sawed Off Shotgun, Possession of Dangerous Weapon in School Zone, Obstructing Legal Process with Force and miscellaneous drug charges. Poitra is in the Becker County Jail.

The incident was a scary one for Food-N-Fuel Owner Gira Joshi, who says the only reason she called the cops to begin with was because the man had been sleeping in the same position for nearly three hours, and she was worried there was something wrong.

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"So I called the cops so they could come check on him," said Joshi.

When it became clear that the situation was a dangerous one, Joshi said officers came in to get her right away. 

"My husband was outside the building, so he ran to the other side of the parking lot, and I was inside the building," she said. "And an officer came and escorted me out safely."

In talking about how scary the situation was, Joshi went on to thank responding officers as tears ran down her face. 

"They came out to help us," she said. "We're safe, but our thanks to the DL Police Department, Sheriff's Department, State Troopers - I thank all the officers that helped us out."

 

 

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Related Topics: DETROIT LAKESCRIME
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