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Court hearing scheduled for Grand Forks standoff suspect

SWAT team surround the house where police say 33-year-old Patrick Aune barricaded himself in the basement. Photo by Ken Chase/Forum News Service.

GRAND FORKS -- A man facing charges after allegedly entering a home, threatening its occupants with a knife and starting a fire in its basement Saturday, March 9, is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

Police were called to University Avenue around 2:25 a.m. Saturday because 33-year-old Patrick Donald Aune, of Adams, went into his friend’s home with a knife, according to an affidavit. A press release from the police department said smoke detectors in the home were going off when they arrived. Aune had locked himself in the basement and said he was going to burn down the house.

A resident of the home showed officers how to get into the basement before evacuating, an affidavit said. Police allegedly tried several times before they were able to open the basement door because Aune was holding it closed. Large amounts of smoke spilled from the door as it was opened, the affidavit said.

Aune had placed PVC pipe, luggage, clothes, Christmas decorations and pieces of wood along the stairs in an attempt to barricade himself in the basement, the affidavit said. Aune refused to obey police commands, and his behavior was “extremely erratic,” the affidavit said. He hit one officer in the hand with a piece of wood, but the affidavit said the officer was not injured.

Aune allegedly began breaking water pipes in the basement around 3:09 a.m., and officers could hear water running.

At 3:45 a.m., Aune told officers he was “going to make the place go ‘boom boom,’ ” the affidavit said. There was a strong smell of gas about 10 minutes later, and officers evacuated the home and set up a perimeter.

Aune came out of the home around 6:49 a.m., the affidavit said. He was allegedly handcuffed and transported to Altru Hospital for an evaluation. He was arrested nearly two hours later.

Aune is facing felony charges of burglary, two counts of endangering by fire, terrorizing and simple assault on an officer. Three of the charges each hold a 10-year maximum sentence and the other two hold five-year maximums.

The police department was assisted by The Grand Forks Regional SWAT Team, Crisis Negotiations Team and Bomb Squad; Altru Hospital; Grand Forks Fire Department; and Grand Forks Regional Special Operations.