LAKE CITY — A 32-year-old Lake City man is dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after he refused to come out of his house Wednesday evening, prompting the lockdown of nearby Lincoln High School and a four-hour standoff with dozens of law-enforcement officers.
The first call about an armed, agitated man came in at 5:19 p.m. The incident ended about 9:30 p.m. when Emergency Response Team officers went into the house and found Benjamin Anderson dead.
"Lake City officers attempted to make contact with a male at 517 Sixth St. in response to a report of threatening text messages and concern of known weapons inside the residence," according to a statement by Officer Bill Weist.
After that call, his officers and members of the Goodhue and Wabasha county sheriff's departments and the State Patrol, assisted by Lake City Ambulance, set up a perimeter around the house.
Lincoln High School went into a modified lockdown, in which students involved in tennis and football practice outside were called in as a precaution because the incident was at a house nearby, said Principal Greg Berge. "It was a pretty calm situation at the school," he said.
Parents were informed and asked to pick up their children on the side of school away from the house, he said.
Classes resumed this morning.
Once the perimeter was secured and the school began its modified lockdown, officers tried to contact Anderson, using the Goodhue County Emergency Response Team armored vehicle. A message, such as "Please come to the front door so we can talk with you," was broadcast many times.
Anderson never responded.
Officers finally went into the house about 9:30 p.m. and found Anderson dead, Weist said.
Daryll Gerken said he knew Anderson when they worked at Horizon Milling in Lake City, but they weren't buddies. "He was a quiet-like guy," he said.
Tom Schramski, who stopped while driving by the scene, said he had received a message from the school about the lockdown. His daughter, Megan Schramski, was in volleyball practice, and he had to get her.
He said he thought, "Oh my God, I'm going to track her down and get her out of there," he said.
But another thought came to him when he heard about the armed man — a similar incident when Lake City Police Officer Sean Schneider was shot responding to a call about a domestic disturbance on Dec. 19, 2011. The officer died several days later.
"I was a little bit leery about this kind of stuff" because of Schneider, Schramski said.
Ramey Spears said she was heading to get her daughter, Hannah Spears, from cheerleading practice when she got the call about the lockdown. She was told at first she couldn't get her and a friend because of the lockdown.
She was really worried because of reports of a man with a gun, she said.
When her daughter was allowed to leave, "she was crying, she was scared," Ramey Spears said.