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Sheriff: Man in Sunday standoff in Minden Township was veteran in crisis
St. Cloud Times - 9/11/2018
Sept. 10--MINDEN TOWNSHIP -- Benton County Sheriff Troy Heck said the Sauk Rapids man who apparently took his own life on Sunday was a military veteran in crisis.
The incident brought authorities to a standoff with the man, forced neighbors to evacuate the area around the 7300 block of Minnesota Highway 95 and shut down that road.
The news release from Heck's office said the victim was Rodolfo Alberto Gomez Jr., 44, of Sauk Rapids, a military veteran.
"According to those closest to him, (he) appeared to fall victim to an acute mental health crisis in the days and hours preceding his death," according to the sheriff's office statement.
"Gomez's family hopes that his passing serves as a reminder of the importance of mental health services for veterans experiencing crisis so that future tragedies may be prevented," Heck's statement said.
After noon Sunday, a man called to report his friend made statements about hurting himself or others and had a firearm, according to the release.
The Minnesota State Patrol diverted traffic from Highway 95, and the Stearns-Benton County Special Emergency Response Team tried to contact the man.
When crisis negotiators could not reach him, the team forced entry and found Gomez dead of what appeared a self-inflicted gun shot, according to the release.
"The exact cause and manner of the victim's death will be determined by the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office," according to the release. "After ensuring that there were no other threats to the public, area residents were allowed back into their homes and (Minnesota Highway) 95 was again opened to traffic."
This story has been updated.
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