A Le Sueur County man’s standoff with police ended peacefully Wednesday night when the county’s Emergency Response Team entered a Montgomery church and took him into custody.

Officers were sent to Holy Redeemer Catholic Church after a resident called at 6:37 p.m. to report a man was inside the church with a weapon, Montgomery Police Chief John Schmidt said. The man inside, who Schmidt would not identify, might have randomly called the resident, he added.

The man was contacted by a negotiator after a perimeter was set up around the church and traffic was blocked on the three streets and alley surrounding it. The suspect talked to police for a while, but eventually ended the call. No one else was in the church at the time.

Schmidt said the man had threatened to kill himself or anyone who entered the church. He also said a search warrant had been executed earlier Wednesday at the man’s residence about 10 miles south of Montgomery, but Schmidt did not know what Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Department deputies were looking for during the search.

When the incident ended just before 9 p.m., the man was arrested in the church’s chapel area and taken to the Le Sueur County Jail. A loaded rifle was also taken from the scene by police. The man is expected to be charged today, Schmidt said.

About 100 students participating in religion classes at the church’s school across the street were evacuated and brought to the Police Department a few blocks away. An ambulance crew was called in to make sure the students all were sent home safely, Schmidt said.

“It was tense at moments when we lost contact and didn’t know what his intentions were,” he said as other officers were breaking away from the scene.

Officers from every law enforcement agency in the county were called to the church. It was a scene that took Robert and Kristine Koniarski by surprise. They live in a small house across the alley from the church. Robert wasn’t allowed to return home and Kristine, who was in the house, wasn’t told what was going on.

“They had all the roads blocked off and they all had guns,” she said. “It was scary; it was really scary.”

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