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Coronavirus

Minnesotan Charged with Attacks Over Mask Demand

HUTCHINSON, Minn. — Prosecutors have charged a Minnesota man with felony assault and allege that he attacked a home improvement store employee and a police officer after the store worker told him to wear a mask.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the incident began Wednesday afternoon when a cashier at a Menards in Hutchinson told 61-year-old Luke Oeltjenbruns that he couldn’t check out unless he put on a mask, according to a criminal complaint. Oeltjenbruns tried to leave with his merchandise, prompting the cashier to grab his cart.

The complaint alleges that Oeltjenbruns hit the cashier with a piece of lumber. Police later found Oeltjenbruns sitting in his pickup truck in another store’s parking lot.

After a slow-speed chase, officers surrounded his truck with their squad cars, but he refused to get out. Officer Steven Sickmann got up on the truck’s running board and reached through the window. The complaint says Oeltjenbruns closed the window on the officer's arm, trapping him, and drove off, crashing into squad cars.

The complaint says Sickmann tried to use a rescue hammer to break the window, but Oeltjenbruns took it from him and hit him on the head with it.

Oeltjenbruns was eventually arrested. The complaint says the officer's injuries included a head wound.

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