76-year-old holds girlfriend hostage in 5-hour Beltrami County standoff

A 76-year-old man was arrested over the weekend in Beltrami County after apparently holding his girlfriend hostage.

On Saturday at 6:30 a.m., Beltrami County sheriff’s officials received a call from the man in Liberty Township, about 15 miles north of Bemidji, asking for what sounded like medical assistance. Deputies found the man in “a state of exhaustion,” his girlfriend reporting that he hadn’t slept in days due to complications from Lyme’s disease. She left, allowing the man to sleep. A few hours later at 10:40 a.m., he called again, “speaking gibberish and not making sense” and “talking about harming himself with a firearm,” sheriff’s officials said. His girlfriend had returned at some point, and officials said he wouldn’t allow her to leave and had threatened her life.

Deputies and Minnesota State Troopers saw his Derringer pistol and negotiated over the phone for over 5 hours. Eventually, the girlfriend was able to escape via fire ladder from the second-story window, and minutes later, the 76-year-old exited the residence and was taken in to custody. He was evaluated on scene by Bemidji Ambulance personnel and transported to Sanford ER for a mental health evaluation.  

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