Bystanders rush to help Inver Grove Heights officer

  • Updated: February 3, 2011 - 9:00 PM

Two good Samaritans rushed to help an Inver Grove Heights police officer as he struggled with a man grabbing at the officer's radio, gun belt and face, according to charges filed this week against the suspect.

Michael J. Hegstrom, 38, of Mendota Heights is charged with six crimes, including disarming a police officer, after the incident in which he allegedly used a hammer to smash cars, threaten people and try to hurt the officer outside a sports bar, a complaint states.

According to the complaint in Dakota County District Court:

An officer, unidentified in the court papers, was called to a parking lot off Bishop Avenue on Saturday. He came upon a small crowd. In the center stood Hegstrom, holding up the hammer as if he was going to hit a man.

The officer yelled at Hegstrom to drop the hammer, but he began walking toward the officer, holding the hammer above his head. The officer drew his gun, and Hegstrom hurled the hammer at the officer, who dodged it.

The officer switched to his Taser, yelling for Hegstrom to get on the ground, but he walked to the squad car. The officer fired his Taser, but the prongs didn't penetrate the man's winter coat.

As Hegstrom tried to open the driver's door of the cruiser, the officer tackled him and they struggled on the ground. The bystanders rushed to help secure the attacker's hands. The officer, who sprained his wrist, called for backup.

Hegstrom, who smelled strongly of alcohol, told police he started drinking at 11:30 a.m. in St. Paul, the complaint says. He said several police cars had chased him, lights and sirens on, but he "got away."

He bought tickets to the AMC Showplace 16 movie theater, but went to the nearby Majors sports bar for drinks. As Hegstrom was backing out of that lot, his door got jammed open as it made contact with the car next to his.

Hegstrom grabbed his hammer, got out and started smashing vehicles, causing damage exceeding $1,000, the complaint says.

JOY POWELL

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