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Standoff suspect sent to state prison

BISMARCK -- The West Fargo man suspected of taking part in a shootout with Bismarck police was sent to the State Penitentiary Tuesday on a probation revocation.

BISMARCK -- The West Fargo man suspected of taking part in a shootout with Bismarck police was sent to the State Penitentiary Tuesday on a probation revocation.

Brandon Keller, 19, 573 E. 22nd St., West Fargo, was arrested Sunday morning at the end of a 13-hour standoff in south Bismarck that left a police officer wounded and a Fargo man dead.

The man who died was Mike Sherman, 27.

Keller's Tuesday court hearing on probation violations had been scheduled before the weekend incident and stems from a conviction last year for conspiracy to commit strong-armed robbery and criminal mischief, an incident that also happened in Bismarck.

Burleigh County prosecutor Brandi Sasse Russell said the incident was involved a drug deal and stolen money.

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Last year, after conviction at a jury trial, Keller was sentenced to three years in prison with all but nine months suspended. He had already spent several months in jail awaiting trial and after less than two months in the State Penitentiary was released to probation Nov. 26.

At Tuesday's hearing, Keller admitted to his probation officer's allegations that he had failed to meet with the officer as ordered, had failed to get a drug evaluation and treatment and numerous other violations.

Sasse Russell said that after Keller's first several violations, he was referred to a "last chance" probation program and ultimately was kicked out of that as well.

South Central District Judge Thomas Schneider ordered Keller to serve the remaining 27 months of the suspended sentence.

While on probation, Keller was charged with other crimes in Bismarck -- terrorizing, aggravated assault and criminal mischief.

The charges Keller has from the weekend standoff are conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, reckless endangerment and felon in possession of a firearm. Two are felonies carrying a possible 20 years in prison and the others have five-year maximums. Because a firearm was involved, the attempted murder has a four-year mandatory sentence and reckless endangerment has a two-year minimum sentence.

Bismarck Police Sgt. Steve Lundin suffered a flesh wound from a bullet that passed through his right thigh. He broke three fingers while avoiding gunfire and crawling to safety.

The standoff ended when the Red River Valley SWAT team arrived about 4 a.m. Sunday and entered the trailer about 6 a.m. They found Sherman dead on the kitchen floor and Keller lying on the floor, apparently unconscious but unharmed.

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An autopsy was ordered Monday for Sherman.

Burleigh County State's Attorney Richard Riha has said he expects more charges - involving drugs - will be filed against Keller in connection with the incident.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Janell Cole at (701) 224-0830

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