Fleeing gunman meets his match

  • Article by: CHRIS HAVENS and MYRON P. MEDCALF , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 25, 2007 - 11:07 PM

A homeowner was shot while subduing a man who fled police and terrorized neighborhoods in two states.

The assault rifle was less than 2 feet from Leland Klanderman's face, and the man holding the gun didn't mince words: "I want your car. Gimme your keys right now."

But Klanderman, who had been enjoying the view of the St. Croix River from the deck of his Lakeland home about 9 p.m. Friday, couldn't comply: His keys were inside. Being keyless may have saved his life.

Allowed to go in search of his keys, Klanderman quickly found his wife, Robin, and the couple fled; she hid in a brush pile while he ran to a neighbor's house to call police.

Authorities were already on the way, in hot pursuit of the 23-year-old Circle Pines man who had terrorized neighborhoods in two states after firing at police in Hudson, Wis. Moments later, he was in custody, subdued by Keith Radtke, a homeowner who was shot during the struggle.

Radtke was listed in good condition at Regions Hospital in St. Paul on Saturday and, although he didn't want to talk about his ordeal, authorities had a message for him: Thanks.

Sgt. Andrew Ellickson said he was convinced that if Radtke's brave actions hadn't stopped the suspect, he would have caused more damage and injuries.

"He wouldn't have been stopped," Ellickson said.

Leland Klanderman agreed: "The guy was determined."

Radtke, an attorney for Faegre & Benson, and his wife, Jody, had just put their three sons to bed Friday.

They were headed downstairs to relax when the front door flew open, according to Jody's mother, Sandy Brandt.

The Radtkes were staring at a ragged-looking man with a rifle, she said.

Authorities said the man forced Keith and Jody Radtke toward the garage.

Quick decision

At this point, Washington County Sheriff Bill Hutton said, Radtke's world began to narrow into a "funnel."He had to make a decision," Hutton said.

When they got into the garage, Radtke saw an opportunity and pounced, knocking the rifle out of the suspect's hands.

Radtke put the suspect in a bear hug and yelled for his wife to go inside and call 911, Hutton said. She did.

Radtke didn't realize there also was a .45-caliber gun in the suspect's waistband, and the suspect was able to get a hold of it and shot Radtke in the lower back.

Radtke continued to struggle with the suspect and knocked the handgun across the garage floor. The suspect bit Radtke several times, and Radtke put him in a wrestling hold.

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