'Peaceful Resolution' After Long Standoff South of Lakota, ND

Rick Abbott, WDAZ
Brossart Family
From left to right, Alex, Jacob, Thomas, Rodney, Abby and Susan Brossart.

NEAR LAKOTA, ND (WDAZ-TV) - A months-long standoff southeast of Lakota, ND, has ended after two of the family members involved were arrested in a field and three others surrendered.

“We put a tactical operational plan together this afternoon and we implemented it and everything went as planned for us, so we're very pleased that we did end with a peaceful resolution this evening," Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke said.

Janke tells WDAZ that Rodney Brossart and his son, Jacob, were arrested at about 2:45 p.m. as they were working in a field.

Janke and Deputy Keith Olson approached the two as they were in a tractor, presumably finishing up the fall harvest.

Nelson County Sheriff's deputy Eric Braathen says a juvenile, school-aged child was also taken into custody.

Two other deputies stood guard at the Brossart home and two Highway Patrol officers were brought in to block roads during the arrests.

Sometime between 7 and 8 p.m. Sunday, Rodney's other children, Abby, Alex and Thomas, gave themselves up at the family's home without incident.

Braathen says a tip called in lead to the farm field arrest. After some negotiation, Rodney and Jacob were arrested without incident. Braathen says they were not armed.

The five Brossarts arrested were all taken to jail in Devils Lake. They're scheduled to appear in court Monday morning.

Braathen says family members at the home had been given some time to get things in order before being detained. Rodney's mother was also apparently at the farmstead. She had been reportedly supplying the family with food during the ongoing ordeal.

Braathen says the mother, Susan, won't be arrested. She remains with their three juvenile children on the farm that includes a house, trailer home and two RV trailers. She has agreed to appear in court Monday, too, on the Class A misdemeanor charge from June involving giving law enforcement false information.

Three deputies from the Nelson County Sheriff's Department and Sheriff Janke were on scene.

Brossart said in an earlier interview he questioned why so many people were worried about how he would react to being arrested. He says the family no longer has any guns and that "we are good people, we are not violent people," he said.

The family was involved in a 16 hour-long standoff in late June over six cattle that wandered onto their property.

According to court documents, when served with a search warrant by Nelson County deputies, Rodney refused to give the cattle back and said if they came onto his property they wouldn't be coming back.

When Rodney was arrested that day, he allegedly resisted and had to be tazed. His daughter, Abby, allegedly struck a sheriff's deputy and was also arrested.

After being placed in a squad car, Rodney allegedly caused over $1,000-worth of damage to the car.

When officers returned to the home later in the evening, they were met by the three brothers with long rifles and were allegedly threatened. The officers then fell back and called in reinforcements from the Grand Forks SWAT team and other agencies.

The brothers were taken into custody without incident the next morning.

They all failed to show up for their preliminary hearing on August 26. Bench warrants were issued that day for Thomas, Alex and Jacob Brossart. Bench warrants allow for an immediate on-sight arrest and are issued when defendants fail to appear in court.

The three are charged with terrorizing in the standoff, a Class C felony, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

Rodney is charged with one count of terrorizing, a Class C felony, one count of theft of property, one count of criminal mischief, one count of failure to comply with estray order (for the cattle) and one count of preventing arrest.

The Brossarts have been on local authorities' radar for years, Janke had earlier said. Rodney has been involved in disputes regarding land and local government issues.

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