Violent crime in Minnesota is relatively rare—possibly owing to its high standard of living, low unemployment rates, and culture of self-sufficiency. Because self-sufficiency and personal responsibility tend to go hand-in-hand, however, you won’t see many Minnesotans lulled into a false sense of complacency. Following are the stories of seven Minnesotans who were wise enough to have had their guards up when the chips were down.
A Right-to-Carry permit holder was at the end of a driveway in a neighborhood in Brooklyn Park, Minn., when he was approached by an armed robber who demanded money. The permit holder responded by drawing a gun and exchanging fire with the thief. During the exchange the robber was fatally wounded. There were several witnesses to the incident and police have stated that it appears to them it was a valid act of self-defense. Following the incident, State Representative Pat Garofalo commented to a media outlet about the importance of the right to carry, stating, “A loss of life is a tragedy … But when a criminal pulls a gun, they risk ending their life. Concealed carry works.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minn., 02/24/16; KSTP, Minneapolis, Minn., 02/23/16)
When the burglar alarm woke Jon Sokol's wife, she figured her husband had yet again tripped it while fetching the newspaper. But Sokol was sleeping at her side. "I think there's somebody in the house," Sokol remembers his wife whispering. Despite his reluctance to believe his house had been invaded, Sokol walked to the stairs to investigate. Then he saw someone move. Quickly he went for his gun. "As I stepped around the corner, he hit me ... right between the eyes. And I fired the gun. Down on the ground he went, and I insisted, in a not very nice way, that he not move. I held him at gunpoint until the police arrived." Police say the intruder, who was armed with a knife, has a lengthy criminal record. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minn., 05/02/08)
A Wright County, Minn., homeowner woke early Tuesday morning to find two burglars prowling in his home. The homeowner chased the burglars out of his house, firing at one of the intruders, then witnessed them drive away in a Chevy Tahoe that had been reported stolen. Police used the homeowner’s account of the getaway car—and the bullet hole in its door—to track down the burglars, who are also suspected of two bank robberies in Cokato, Minn. They are now in police custody. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minn., 04/25/08)
According to police, four young men intended to burglarize the home of an elderly couple. Two men wearing masks entered the home and woke up the couple. After a verbal exchange, the woman yelled to her husband to get his gun. The man was on his way when the suspects ran from the house, got in their car and fled the scene. The homeowners called 911, and the suspected burglars were apprehended shortly afterward. (Echo Press, Alexandria, Minn., 04/19/06)
A Cambridge, Minn., man awoke to the sound of breaking glass. He retrieved a shotgun and began checking rooms when he encountered three men who had entered his home. Two of the intruders fled, but the homeowner held the third man, later identified as Robert Hanson, at gunpoint while he awaited the arrival of police. The other two suspects were apprehended and the three were charged with aiding and abetting felony first-degree burglary. (Isanti County News, Cambridge, Minn., 4/21/04)
A 79-year-old Minneapolis, Minn., man shot a home invader who had broken into the elderly man's residence late one night. Harvey Keefe, a World War II Marine Corps veteran, heard someone smash in his back door late one night. Keefe remained in his locked bedroom and picked up his .38-cal. revolver as he heard someone making his way through his house. When the intruder jiggled the doorknob to Keefe's bedroom, the veteran feared for his life and fired his gun. When the intruder appeared to back off and he heard sounds of someone leaving, Keefe called 911 and waited for authorities to arrive. A suspect suffering from a gunshot wound was found six blocks from the scene and a trail of blood led back to the house. Keefe said he didn't regret firing the shot. "I know I've done the right thing," he said. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minn., 08/22/02)
In a near-deadly encounter that police concluded may have been a case of mistaken identity, two men with guns knocked on the door of a Minneapolis, Minn., house shortly before midnight and pushed aside the female resident who answered. Commanding her to "stay away," the men made their way inside, but not before the woman shouted a warning to her male companion. He grabbed a rifle and fired on the pair, striking one man in the leg. Both men fled, but were later arrested by police. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minn., 12/09/99)