Roseville standoff ends; suspect dies

Two SWAT members wounded; the man had been known for causing problems in his otherwise quiet neighborhood.

The stretch of well-kept houses on the quiet Roseville street never saw trouble, residents say, but for one man.

For years, they said, Brian Anthony Handt seemed to bring turmoil, whether it was the late-night traffic at the home he shared with his parents, or the noise of fights and obscenities coming from the garage at 727 Terrace Drive. It was enough to drive his parents, who are in their 60s, to often stay with other relatives, said next-door neighbor Beverly Spreigl.

"We've been here for years, and he's been in trouble since he was a kid," Spreigl said.

It ended Thursday, after a nearly eight-hour standoff that apparently left Handt, 37, dead and two east metro SWAT team members wounded. Police would not identify the dead man, but Spreigl said it was Handt, who had a lengthy criminal history stretching back several years throughout the metro. Offenses ranged from drunken driving and drug offenses to forgery and unlawful possession of tear gas.

During the standoff, 11 homes in the neighborhood were evacuated. The incident began at 4 a.m. Thursday, when East Metro and Ramsey County SWAT teams served a search warrant at Handt's home related to an investigation into the manufacture and sale of methamphetamine, said Roseville Police Chief Carol Sletner.

Officers entered the home's lower level, where they promptly traded shots with Handt before retreating. Two adults in the home were evacuated, and were identified later by Spreigl as Handt's mother and girlfriend.

One officer was shot in the forearm while a second was grazed by a bullet. Neither was believed to be seriously injured.

Sletner said a shield used by the second officer likely saved his life. Two bullets were found lodged in it.

After their retreat, police talked with Handt by phone. He said he had been shot and "would not leave the home alive" Sletner said. Then contact was broken off, and police could not re-establish it.

Over the next eight hours, police used robots to search the home and also fired tear gas into the house. About noon they entered, and found the man's body in the home's lower level.

Police would not say whether the man had been shot by police or committed suicide. The investigation "is still in its infancy," said Roseville police Capt. Rick Mathwig.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the incident. Both officers involved, who were not named, were shaken but are recovering well, Sletner said.

Spreigl said the raid sparked a terrifying wake-up, when she heard voices, bangs and people rapping at her door ordering her to the floor. It didn't take long to know where the scuffle was coming from.

"There were people coming and going all the time [at the house next door], and you knew it was drugs," Spreigl said. "In the summer, especially. There'd be fights, you'd hear it and you just didn't know what to expect."

Handt's sister declined to comment Thursday evening. No one answered the telephone at the home on Terrace Drive.

Spreigl isn't the only neighbor who worried about Handt's presence in the area. John Haradon, who lives a few doors down, looked down the block. He never knew Handt by name, but said the man was frequently kicked out of the home by his parents, only to return.

"I saw him all the time. I knew what he was up to," he said. "Every time, I was going to turn him in."

Spreigl, whose bedroom is only feet from the garage where Handt stayed until all hours, is looking forward to the return of peace and quiet.

"I'm just glad it's all over," she said. "The neighbors have lived in fear of this man for a long time. It's a wonderful neighborhood. Now it's a beautiful neighborhood again."

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