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Charges against 22-year-old recount relentless beating of mother with hammer

David Edward Williams Jr.

WOODBURY, Minn.—A 22-year-old man with bipolar disorder was charged with six felonies after allegedly beating his mother in the head with a hammer, threatening murder-suicide and holding his parents at gunpoint Saturday evening, Jan. 21, in Woodbury.

Police said David Edward Williams Jr. of Maplewood released his parents for medical treatment and, after a three-hour-long negotiation with a SWAT team, surrendered to police at approximately 11:23 p.m.

The Washington County Attorney's Office charged Williams Monday with two counts each of second-degree assault with a firearm, kidnapping to commit bodily harm and terroristic threats with reckless disregard.

Authorities arrested and held him on suspicion of attempted murder, assault and false imprisonment, according to Washington County jail records. But it's common for charges to differ from what a suspect was arrested for, said Fred Fink, criminal division chief for the county attorney's office.

Williams was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

Williams made a list of all the people who were involved in putting him on medications and began to exact revenge against his mother, according to the court complaint.

Last summer, he moved out of his parents' house at 1032 Briar Glen Lane, stopped taking his medication, and started using drugs and alcohol.

When he went to his parents' house Saturday evening, he took away their phones, and while holding a hammer told his mother he was going to hurt her, the complaint read.

Williams blocked her exit with a recliner and began "relentlessly" beating her in the head with the hammer, his mother told police. She didn't know how many times she was hit.

Police say Williams duct-taped his mother to a sunroom chair, closed all the blinds, and let his mother bleed while he retrieved a black bag containing a black long gun, baseball bat, knife and hatchet. He slapped his mother in the head and kept telling her he was going to kill her, the complaint said.

Then, impersonating his mother, he sent a text message to his father, expecting his arrival home. Williams told his mother he was going to kill his father first, according to the complaint.

He positioned his mother so that when his father arrived she would be his first sight upon walking in the door.

Williams had saved his medications and was throwing them at his mother, later stating that he was upset that his parents medicated him for bipolar as a child, according to the complaint.

He later destroyed all the phones with the hatchet.

When his father arrived, Williams ordered him into a chair next to Williams' mother, loaded the gun and repeatedly pointed it at them, the complaint said.

He paced around with the gun, hatchet and knife. He talked about plans to kill his parents "or maybe just one of them and then himself," the complaint said.

Williams said he was going to smoke marijuana one more time before killing himself. Then he smoked marijuana and appeared to have calmed down, according to the complaint.

He released his mother from the duct tape restraints and let his parents leave the home. His father drove his mother to Woodwinds Health Campus for emergency care, according to the complaint. She had suffered an open skull fracture and numerous cuts to her scalp.

Police spoke to the parents at the hospital where police observed blood on her arms and face and heard her screaming in pain.

At 7:40 p.m., police responded to the home for a report of an assault with deadly weapons.

The SWAT team contacted Williams at the house.

For three hours, authorities say he was noncompliant with police commands and was a perceived danger to himself or others, Woodbury police spokeswoman Michelle Okada said in an email Monday morning.

Officers established a perimeter around the neighborhood while negotiators attempted to persuade Williams to come out of the house unarmed.

The standoff lasted late into the night, neighbor Joseph Bonan said. He said he was watching TV Saturday evening when he received a call from authorities instructing him and other residents to stay inside.

Another source, who declined to be named, said he saw three police officers wielding assault rifles who told him to go inside. He added that he did not hear any gunfire during the standoff, which according to a Woodbury police statement lasted several hours.

Bonan didn't recall knowing about any prior altercations between Williams and his parents. The homeowners have lived in the Briar Glen Lane house since 1994, according to property records.

According to dispatchers, Williams grew frustrated and demanded to speak with his father while speaking with a Woodbury police negotiator.

Negotiators talked the man out of the house, and he was taken into custody without further incident.

According to the complaint, William's parents changed the locks on their home after their son allegedly threatened them and another family member. Williams had asked for a list of all the people involved in putting him on medication, but he would not disclose what he was going to do with the list, his father told police.

During and after the incident, the mother told police she thought she was going to die, and expressed concern that Williams could be released from jail, according to the complaint.

She was in stable condition Sunday morning, according to Woodbury Public Safety.

Public Safety Director Lee Vague was working on the case Monday morning.

"My priority this morning is to work with our investigations/county attorney on the case," Vague said in an email.

Police found a 12-gauge shotgun and ammunition, multiple knives, a hatchet hidden in a ceiling, duct tape, damaged phones and medication. Search warrants continued to be executed Monday, Okada said.

Officers also recovered Williams' journal, the complaint said, in which he had written, under an entry for Jan. 21, 2017: "I'm sorry. I hit you."

Youssef Rddad contributed to this report.