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Man arrested after allegedly firing gun, causing standoff in western North Dakota

Police, paramedics and emergency management personnel block the intersection of 28th Street NW and U.S. Highway 85 on Monday afternoon, Jan. 7. Jamie Kelly / Williston Herald

ALEXANDER, N.D. - A 39-year-old man was arrested Monday, Jan. 7, after an hours-long standoff with police south of Alexander in western North Dakota.

Edwin Hatlen, of Alexander, was accused of firing a gun into the air and pointing the weapon at someone at the city's industrial park around 1 p.m., according to a news release from the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office. He was charged with terrorizing, a class C felony, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, a class A misdemeanor.

Hatlen showed up drunk to Dorman Farms, where he worked, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed in Northwest District Court. Another employee told police that Hatlen starting shooting his pistol and that she was afraid he would kill her and other workers.

Alexander is about 25 miles south of Williston.

After the shooting, Hatlen took a pickup truck from the business and drove to his home, court records indicate. Another co-worker told police that Hatlen had sent a message saying he wasn’t willing to “go back to jail,” and that he would kill himself.

After the incident, police found Hatlen at Hillview Estates south of Alexander.

Residents of Hillview Estates were evacuated and members of the Williams County SWAT Team and the Williams County Crisis Negotiations Team assisted the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office, as did troopers from the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

Hatlen was taken into custody early Monday evening. He has a preliminary hearing set for Feb. 7.