Man charged with attacking Menards employee over mask
HUTCHINSON, Minn. (AP) — Prosecutors have charged a Hutchinson man with felony assault after he allegedly attacked a Menards employee after the worker told him to wear a mask and attacked a responding police officer with a hammer.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported the incident began Wednesday afternoon when a cashier at a Menards in Hutchinson told 61-year-old Luke Oeltjenbruns that he couldn’t check out unless he put on a mask, according to a criminal complaint. Oeltjenbruns tried to leave with his merchandise, prompting the cashier to grab his car.
Oeltjenbruns hit the cashier with a piece of lumber. Police later found Oeltjenbruns sitting in his pick-up truck in another store’s parking lot. A slow-speed chase ensued.
Officers surrounded his truck with their squad cars but he refused to get out. Officer Steven Sickmann got up on the truck’s running board and reached through the window. Oeltjenbruns closed the window on his arm, trapping him, and drove off, crashing into squad cars, the complaint said.
Sickmann tried to use a rescue hammer to break the window, but Oeltjenbruns took it from him and hit him in the head with it.
Police were eventually able to arrest Oeltjenbruns. Sickmann was taken to a hospital, where he needed eight metal staples to close a head wound.
Activists on social media have questioned why police didn’t shoot Oeltjenbruns, who is white, when police in Brooklyn Center killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who is Black, during a much more benign traffic stop on Sunday.