A 61-year-old Hutchinson, Minn., man was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly assaulted an employee at a Menards in the McLeod County city during a dispute over wearing a mask, then attacked a police officer.
Hutchinson Police Chief Tom Gifferson said in a news release that police were called to the Menards at 1525 SE. Montreal St. on a report that the man had assaulted an employee with a piece of lumber after being asked to wear a mask to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, required in such settings.
The man left the store and was soon spotted by a police officer in the parking lot of a nearby Walmart. When the officer tried to stop his vehicle, the man led him in what Gifferson described as "a slow speed pursuit" in the area of the Hutchinson mall near Hwy. 15 and S. Grade Road.
The vehicle soon stopped near Hwy. 15 and Freemont Avenue. When the officer tried to engage the suspect through the driver's side window, the suspect took off "at a high rate of speed" with the officer trapped and hanging from the window, Gifferson said. During the struggle, the suspect hit the officer in the head with a hammer, he said.
The officer is hospitalized in stable condition, and the suspect was arrested, police said. The McLeod County Sheriff's Office is investigating.