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A Minnesota man attacked a store employee over a mask policy then dragged a police officer with his vehicle and struck him with a hammer, police say

Michelle Mark
·2-min read
police tape
A Minneapolis Police officers unrolls caution tape at a crime scene on June 16, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
  • A 61-year-old Minnesota man has been charged with assaulting a store employee and a police officer.

  • Police say Luke Oeltjenbruns attacked an employee with lumber over the store's mask policy.

  • Oeltjenbruns then dragged a police officer from his truck and struck him with a hammer, police said.

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A Minnesota man accused of assaulting a store employee over a mask dispute led police on a slow-speed chase, then dragged an officer hanging from his vehicle before striking him in the head with a hammer, according to police and a criminal complaint.

A statement from the Hutchinson Police Department said the violence began April 14 at a Menards home improvement store, where 61-year-old Luke Oeltjenbruns argued with an employee over the store's mask policy, then assaulted the staff member with "some lumber."

Police said from there, officers found Oeltjenbruns in a parking lot, but he led them on a "slow-speed pursuit" before eventually stopping at a red light while officers attempted to arrest him.

But a criminal complaint cited by the Minneapolis Star Tribune said when officers approached and told Oeltjenbruns he was at gunpoint, Oeltjenbruns responded that "he did not care and to shoot him."

Eventually, police officer Steven Sickmann warned Oeltjenbruns he would have to break the truck's window to forcibly arrest him, then stepped up onto the truck's running board and reached through the window.

The complaint said Oeltjenbruns "grabbed Officer Sickmann's right arm and closed the window on it," trapping the officer, before driving away and crashing into police cruisers until the officer managed to extricate himself.

A video circulating online and taken by a bystander appeared to show the officer reaching into the driver's side window of a white pickup truck, then becoming stuck as the truck reversed then sped off.

 

Oeltjenbruns then tried to drive away again but was blocked off by police, according to the complaint. Sickmann tried to break Oeltjenbruns' window using a rescue hammer, but Oeltjenbruns wrestled the hammer away and struck Sickmann on the head.

The Hutchinson Police Department said Sickmann was taken to a hospital for his injuries and was in stable condition.

Oeltjenbruns was charged Friday with first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, and fleeing a peace officer. According to the NBC affiliate KARE11, Oeltjenbruns' public defender said in a Friday court hearing that his client is a military veteran and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

McLeod County jail records show that Oeltjenbruns is being held in jail on $100,000 cash bail, or $500,000 bond.

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