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Man with gun prompts lockdown of schools near Detroit Lakes convenience store

Special to Forum Communications

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - One man with a gun has been arrested following a dramatic scene near the Detroit Lakes Middle School/Roosevelt Elementary complex today.

According to Detroit Lakes Police Chief Steve Todd, management at the Food-N-Fuel on Barbara Avenue, two blocks away from the schools, called police about a suspicious man who was sleeping in a vehicle that had been sitting in the gas station's parking lot. The call came in at 3:14 p.m., so things started to unravel just as school was getting out.

"When our officer went to check and made contact with the person in the car, we saw he had a gun," said Todd, who says more than a dozen officers from every law enforcement agency in the immediate area quickly ascended upon the scene, as M State across Highway 34 was locked down and staff at the Middle School and Roosevelt Elementary tried to keep kids either inside the school or directed southward, away from the scene. Officers set up a vehicle barricade to stop traffic and children from getting close to the area. 

"We didn't want any kids coming that way in case he stated shooting at us," said Todd, who says officers worked for about eight minutes attempting to get the man to come out of the vehicle. "And then when he did get out, he refused to apply with commands so he could be secured. He was wearing some clothing that we couldn't tell if he had anything hidden."

Officers were able to apprehend the man without further incident or any shots fired. He is identified as 37-year-old James Poitra, of Detroit Lakes.

Poitra is being held on several charges including Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Possession of Sawed Off Shotgun, Possession of Dangerous Weapon in School Zone, Obstructing Legal Process with Force and miscellaneous drug charges.

Poitra is being held in the Becker County Jail.