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Charges: 494 arrest suspect was poised for shootout with cops

Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies shut down southbound I-494 traffic while conducting a traffic stop Tuesday morning. (Photo courtesy of city of Woodbury)

A body armor-wearing man brandishing a gun was arrested and charged with multiple felonies following a morning rush-hour traffic stop this week that temporarily shut down freeway traffic in Woodbury.

Officers from multiple agencies conducted the Dec. 17 arrest on Interstate 494 just south of Lake Road. Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Randy Gustafson said no shots were fired during the incident, though a criminal complaint states the suspect was clamoring for a shootout with police.

“I think that they would characterize it as a significant arrest,” he said, referring to Ramsey County investigators, who led the arrest.

The suspect, later identified as Samuel David Shoen, was charged Dec. 19 with second-degree drug possession, illegal firearm possession and commission of a crime while wearing bulletproof material.

According to a Ramsey County criminal complaint, Shoen, 35, had been under close scrutiny by law enforcement for alleged dealings in firearms sales and drugs. Shoen is identified in the complaint as being affiliated with the white supremacist gang Hammerskins.

He was in St. Paul on Dec. 17 – less than a week after allegedly selling a fully automatic machine gun to a police informant – where he purchased an optic sight for an AR-15 assault rifle from a Walmart, the complaint states.

Officers attempted to pull over the car he was riding in after Shoen left the store.

Gustafson said the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office’s violent crimes unit was the lead agency during the incident. State Patrol troopers and other agencies assisted.

The driver, who was being forced to drive the vehicle against his will, was briefly detained but not arrested, Gustafson said.

He said the incident, which involved law enforcement forcing the vehicle off the road with a vehicle-on-vehicle PIT maneuver, was a coordinated effort among multiple agencies.

After arresting Shoen – who was wearing body armor held together with twine and was carrying ammunition – authorities searched the vehicle and turned up a backpack containing 1,200 rounds of AR-15 ammunition. Also in the vehicle was a loaded AR-15 rifle, according to the complaint.

A loaded handgun was also found in the vehicle.

The driver told police that he had picked up Shoen in McGregor, Minn., and was told by Shoen that he “was not going down without a fight,” the complaint states. During the drive, Shoen allegedly told the driver that if police pulled them over, that he should let Shoen off “and he would shoot it out.”

Coordinated execution of the arrest included officers shutting down southbound I-494 traffic for about 15 minutes.

Gustafson said the highway was sealed off for motorists’ safety.

“They knew that there was that potential for danger,” he said.

Were it not for an occupant in the car, that might have been the case, the complaint states.

After seeing police following them, Shoen told one of the three people in the vehicle to get his gun. The person refused, with Shoen allegedly yelling, “I’m not going to jail! I’m not going to jail,” before throwing methamphetamine out the vehicle’s window.

Police later located nearly 12 grams of meth Shoen allegedly launched from the vehicle.

Shoen, who was being held on $1 million bail, is due in court Jan. 16.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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