Hebron resident shot in standoffMANDAN — An 8½-hour standoff stemming from a man’s delinquent water bill ended when he was shot in the shoulder by a SWAT team member, authorities said.
MANDAN — An 8½-hour standoff stemming from a man’s delinquent water bill ended when he was shot in the shoulder by a SWAT team member, authorities said.
George Fischer, 52, was reported in good condition after the standoff, which ended about 2 a.m. Wednesday at his home in Hebron. He faces charges of assault on a police officer and terrorizing.
Morton County Sheriff Dave Shipman said Fischer had threatened the Hebron city auditor Tuesday, after he was told his water service might be disconnected. Deputies were called, and confronted Fischer at his home about the threat, the sheriff said.
But Fischer believed he would be arrested for not paying his water bill, and he reached for a rifle, Shipman said.
A deputy attempted to use a Taser stun gun to subdue Fischer, but only one of its probes hit Fischer in the chest, Shipman said. The deputies then were “forced to retreat,” the sheriff said.
The regional SWAT team was called and surrounded the home, Shipman said. Attempts to talk to Fischer by telephone and bullhorn were unsuccessful, he said.
Officers approached the home several hours later and Fischer, who wielded a rifle, was shot once in the shoulder, Shipman said. He did not identify the officer who shot Fischer.
Hebron Mayor LeRoy Thomas said Fischer was delinquent on his water bill and had asked the city auditor to come to his home to discuss it. The mayor said it was not the city’s normal procedure.
“This thing went one step to the next, and then this happened,” the mayor said.
Thomas said unpaid water bills are a big issue in the central North Dakota town of about 800. The City Council earlier in the week voted to publish in the local newspaper the names of people with delinquent water bills, he said.
Unpaid water bills total up to $7,000 a month in Hebron, which buys water from a pipeline that brings it from the Missouri River.
Thomas said about two dozen people in town are chronically delinquent in paying their water bills.
“It’s usually the same people — some of them are just down on their luck and some of them choose to buy other things instead of paying their water bills,” the mayor said.
Wednesday’s shooting was the first shooting in town in probably a century, he said.
“I’ve never heard of any shootings here, except back in the olden days,” the mayor said.