MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — A Maplewood man upset that members of a local fitness club were not wearing face masks while exercising on New Year’s Eve pulled a handgun on the manager, authorities said.
The manager of the Maplewood LA Fitness tackled the gunman and was able to disarm him, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday, Jan. 4, in Ramsey County District Court. No shots were fired.
Michael Marland Florhaug, 64, of Maplewood, is charged with one felony count of second-degree assault using a dangerous weapon, according to the complaint.
It was about 5:30 p.m. Thursday when Florhaug went to the County Road D fitness center to personally monitor if members were following the state’s mask mandate, the criminal complaint said. Florhaug is not a member of the gym. Under Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order, fitness centers were able to reopen on Dec. 19 at 25 percent capacity and members were required to wear masks.
Florhaug spoke with an employee at the front desk in “an aggressive and angry manner” about members not wearing masks while exercising. The gym’s manager then spoke with Florhaug and said that staff can’t be everywhere in the gym to enforce the mandate, the complaint said.
The manager then said Florhaug could pay for an employee to enforce the mask rule with his own money.
Florhaug then yelled at the manager, who told him that he could not enter the gym, the complaint said. Florhaug then said he was going to walk around to take pictures of people in the gym — which prohibits photography without consent — and the manager put his hands up to stop him.
Florhaug said, “Oh, yeah?” and then reached into his pocket, pulling out a gun and pointing it at the manager’s chest, the complaint said.
The manager backed away, and Florhaug put the 9-mm handgun back into his pocket. When Florhaug walked back toward the front of the gym, the manager tackled Florhaug from behind and disarmed him, removing the gun’s magazine and ensuring there was no ammunition in the chamber.
The manager told authorities he thought Florhaug was going to shoot gym members who didn’t have masks on, the complaint said.
Police responded and arrested Florhaug, the complaint said. Florhaug said he was a member of the gym, and that he had wanted to check if members were wearing masks and wanted to take pictures of those who weren’t, the complaint said. He went on to say that the manager physically attacked him, and that he had only flashed his gun at the manager.
A witness told authorities that Florhaug did not just flash his gun, but that he had completely pulled out the gun and pointed it at the manager, the complaint said.
Florhaug’s first court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday morning. An attorney is currently not listed on his court records.