Brittany Lawonn, Published August 01 2009
Standoff suspect’s bail set at $100K
Leonard Ritter, 55, is charged in Cass County District Court with being a felon in possession of a firearm, preventing arrest or discharge of duties, reckless endangerment and two counts of terrorizing.
Court documents reveal new details regarding the standoff:
Police were called to Ritter’s apartment complex at 2433 20th Ave. S., Fargo, on July 8 after receiving a report about a man in the hallway with a shotgun. Ritter was swearing and yelling, saying women and children should come to his apartment because they were not safe.
SWAT responded to initiate contact with Ritter. A SWAT robot was used, which sent a video feed back to officers showing Ritter “giving the finger to the robot” at one point. When the robot breached the door, Ritter fired a .22-caliber handgun eight times at it, flattening a tire.
Ritter told the negotiator he just wanted to stay in his apartment and then cursed at him before going out to have a cigarette. At one point he became upset with the negotiator for not calling him “Mr. Ritter.”
Nearly nine hours into the standoff, Ritter jumped from his apartment balcony and tried to flee. Officers used a Taser on Ritter, who continued to struggle until he was handcuffed, police said at the time.
After his arrest, Ritter complained to an officer that there was no probable cause and asked for a taxi ride home. He said he had not slept for six days because people were going to steal from his apartment and his vehicles.
Following the arrest, Ritter was sent to the North Dakota State Hospital in Jamestown for an evaluation. The details from the evaluation have not been made public.
On Friday, prosecutor Ryan Younggren recommended $100,000 cash only bail for Ritter, citing his 1994 conviction following a standoff with police that helped lead to the creation of a local SWAT team.
Ritter did not comment on the recommended bail amount, which East Central Judicial District Judge John Irby accepted.
His next court date is set for Aug. 27.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Brittany Lawonn at (701) 241-5541