(CORRECTION) A previous version of this story reported that Molitor had been ordered to prison)

Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Pine Island man who opened fire on law enforcement officers during a 2022 standoff has been given a chance to avoid prison.

39-year-old Michael Molitor was arrested on the evening of August 20, 2022 following a standoff at a residence in Pine Island that began around 10:45 that morning. It started after a Goodhue County Sheriff's Deputy was dispatched to a residence for a welfare check on Molitor after he reportedly threatened suicide, including "suicide by cop."

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According to the criminal complaint, Molitor also stated he was armed and holding a woman hostage. The court document says he was seen in the garage at the residence armed with an AR-15 rifle, wearing body armor, and drinking beer. During conversations with the deputy, Molitor indicated he had several firearms and issued a threat to shoot at the law officer’s squad car.

Machine Gun
fredrocko (stock photo)

The Goodhue County SWAT and the Rochester Police/Olmsted County Emergency Response Unit were called to the scene and deployed a flash bang grenade at the front of the home in an effort to prod Molitor into surrendering. A little over an hour later, the criminal complaint says Molitor emerged at the front of the home wearing body armor and armed with a rifle that he held in "a low ready position" toward an armored law enforcement vehicle.

Goodhue County Sheriff's Office photo
Goodhue County Sheriff's Office photo

After he went back inside, the charges described how the tactical teams breached a window in the home using an arm on the armored vehicle, and then fired five chemical rounds into the house.

The court document says that's when gunfire erupted from inside the residence. It was estimated that Molitor fired more than 20 rounds and one of them struck just below the driver side window of the armored vehicle.

Monitor then reemerged in the garage, but refused demands to get on the ground and fled back inside after a SWAT team member fired a paper ball round at him. Moments later, Molitor reappeared and surrendered to authorities and a search of the house determined there was not a hostage.

photo courtesy Kraus-Anderson
photo courtesy Kraus-Anderson

He previously entered a Norgaard plea to a first-degree assault charge involving law enforcement officers. Several other charges, including a second-degree assault charge, were dismissed. The Norgaard plea means Molitor admits he is guilty but he has no recollection of his actions due to alcohol and/or drug intoxication.

Today, Molitor was handed a 10 year stayed prison sentence. State sentencing guidelines call for up to 15 years in prison. Molitor was ordered to spend five years on probation and faces the possibility of having to serve the prison time if he fails to meet the terms of his probation.


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Gallery Credit: Lauren Wells

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