Two Harbors Police: Man with ax near school meant no harm
A good deal and a good deed landed a rural St. Louis County man in trouble in Two Harbors Thursday. At about 12:40 p.m. an ax-wielding man walked by the Minnehaha Elementary School playground and threw toys at the children. School workers ushered...
A good deal and a good deed landed a rural St. Louis County man in trouble in Two Harbors Thursday.
At about 12:40 p.m. an ax-wielding man walked by the Minnehaha Elementary School playground and threw toys at the children.
School workers ushered the children indoors and called police, who found the man about four blocks away. Officers handcuffed, searched and questioned the man. They released him after hearing, and confirming, his story.
According to police, the man lives in a cabin in rural St. Louis County and had come into Two Harbors to do his laundry. While there, he decided to take a walk around town.
In a store he bought a used ax at a good price.
"And they had some Frisbees they were going to throw away," said Two Harbors Assistant Police Chief Kevin Ruberg. "Apparently he said, 'Oh, I can get rid of these for you.' So he left and on his way back to the laundromat, as he was walking past the school, he threw the Frisbees over the fence and just kept walking."
"It was a situation that, on the face of it, looked pretty serious, but the end result was it was pretty harmless," Ruberg said. "He wasn't trying to cause fear or harm to anyone."
Minnehaha Elementary School Principal Patricia Driscoll sent a note to parents Thursday telling them what had happened, writing that the incident had upset some staff and students.
"The police were called and the children were brought in from the playground," she wrote. "The police quickly apprehended the man. A lockdown was not needed because the man had been apprehended."
Paraprofessionals on the playground did things to protect our students, the note said, and the students also did a good job of following directions and cooperating when they were called in from the playground early.
"From the sounds of it, everything was handled as appropriately as it could be," Lake Superior School District Superintendent Phil Minkkinen said. "Adults on the playground were concerned about student safety, and they alerted the principal, who alerted the police, and the kids were ushered back into the building, apparently very orderly and quietly. Everything went how it should."
"Fortunately there was nothing to the issue, but you never know," he said. "Hopefully we don't ever have to do it again, but at least we know the process works."