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Police: Bemidji man pulled gun after fighting, fleeing

BEMIDJI -- Police say a Bemidji man who was allegedly involved in a fight last week pulled a handgun from his waistband after fleeing from officers with the Bemidji Police Department.

Bruce Lee Armstrong, 21, remains in jail on $200,000 bail, according to an official at the Beltrami County Jail, where he was booked on felony charges of possessing a pistol and terroristic threats. Those charges make up the two-count criminal complaint filed by the Beltrami County Attorney’s Office.

About 1:20 a.m. July 3, police responded to Ridgeway Apartments, 2910 Ridgeway Ave., on reports of a fight and shots fired. An officer with the Bemidji Police Department eventually spotted Armstrong, who had been identified as a suspect in a fight between himself and another man, according to the complaint.

Armstrong allegedly ignored the officer’s calls to stop, and attempted to enter an apartment. He then turned toward police, according to the complaint, and pulled a pistol from his waistband.

The officer disarmed Armstrong and took him into custody. The chamber of the weapon -- a .22 caliber pistol -- was empty, but one round remained in the magazine, police said. Armstrong later told police he was carrying the gun “for protection,” according to the complaint.

Police then spoke with a female who had transported Armstrong from Cass Lake to Bemidji earlier that night. She told police that Armstrong had been drinking, and was armed with two firearms when the pair left Cass Lake. She also said that upon arriving in Bemidji, Armstrong threatened to kill the female, according to the complaint.

Eventually, police said, Armstrong took control of the woman’s vehicle and drove to Ridgeway Apartments, where he allegedly became involved in an altercation with another man. During the fight, the female told police, Armstrong retrieved a handgun from the female’s car and began to chase the man with whom he was fighting.

Police are still investigating reports of shots fired in the incident.

Armstrong has a criminal history that includes a 2010 conviction for felony fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance. He violated terms of probation for that charge, according to court documents, and served one year and one day with the Department of Corrections. Where he served that time was not immediately available, but an official at the St. Cloud Correctional facility said he was released in October 2012.

In June, Armstrong pleaded guilty to misdemeanor domestic assault in Beltrami County. He was placed on probation, one of the terms of which being that he not consume alcohol, according to the complaint. He is scheduled to be sentenced for that violation of probation on Aug. 9.

Justin Glawe
Reporting on crime, courts and Beltrami county government. Follow me on Twitter @JustinGlawe.
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