Son: City Hall gunman in Minnesota clashed with authorities

AP News
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Posted: Jan 27, 2015 7:01 PM
Son: City Hall gunman in Minnesota clashed with authorities

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A man killed in a confrontation with police outside a City Council meeting in suburban Minneapolis had a long history of friction with authorities, his son said Tuesday.

Two officers were wounded in the exchange of gunfire, which happened at the New Hope City Hall just outside the City Council chambers after two new policemen were sworn in Monday night.

The man who carried an unspecified long gun was identified as Raymond Kmetz, 68, of Belle Plaine, by his son, Nathan Kmetz and the Hennepin County medical examiner. Raymond Kmetz's disputes with the city dated back to at least 2008, and his son told The Associated Press that his father blamed authorities for the loss of his home and contracting business.

"I want people to know there is more to the story than a man walking into City Hall and shooting up the place. This has been boiling up, and they all know this has been boiling up," Nathan Kmetz said.

The two wounded police officers were out of the hospital and doing well Tuesday, authorities said. The Hennepin County sheriff's office identified the officers as Joshua Eernisse, who was one of the two officers sworn in Monday night, and Beau Schoenhard, who was attending the ceremony and has been with the New Hope Police Department since 2008.

A video of the meeting captured the sound of at least six gunshots. City Council member John Elder, a former police officer, is seen on the video drawing his handgun and shouting at others in the room to take cover behind the desk.

"Get down! Get down! Everybody get down!" Elder shouts.

Someone else in the room can be heard saying: "That went right through the door. Somebody got shot."

State and federal court records show Raymond Kmetz had a history of run-ins with city and county officials, including five years of civil commitments for mental illness. The order from his most recent commitment said he had a history of damaging property, assault and terroristic threats dating from 2008, when he rammed a bulldozer into a building in Crystal, then aimed the machine at a police officer and refused to stop until the officer drew his gun. The judge found that Kmetz was paranoid and delusional, prone to rage, and that he believed officials were conspiring to take over his property.

Nathan Kmetz blamed local officials for any mental health problems his father may have had.

Minutes show that the City Council in 2008 rejected Raymond Kmetz's offer to sell his home-and-business property to the city for $950,000. The city manager told the council the property was worth $255,000 and that the city had no need for it.

Kmetz also unsuccessfully sued New Hope and several police officers in 2010 after an officer used a stun gun on him. A judge dismissed the case, saying the officer knew Kmetz was wanted for making terroristic threats and acted reasonably.

Court records also show Kmetz was cited for trespassing in August 2013 and ordered to have no direct contact with New Hope City Council members or the city manager. A former attorney for Kmetz also took out a restraining order in 2011.

Last summer, police in the neighboring suburb of Crystal obtained a restraining order against him for allegedly threatening officers.

Nathan Kmetz said the last time he spoke with his father was on Thanksgiving. He said his father was upset and didn't want anything to do with his family anymore. He said he and his brother told Minneapolis and Crystal police that their father was a "ticking time bomb."

Gov. Mark Dayton expressed his gratitude to the New Hope police officers "who risked their lives to take the City Council members and other attendees" to safety.

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Associated Press reporters Doug Glass, Amy Forliti and Kyle Potter contributed to this report.