In Ham Lake, a gunshot, a standoff, a troubled man dead

There are 20 comments on the Dec 31, 2009, TwinCities.com story titled In Ham Lake, a gunshot, a standoff, a troubled man dead. In it, TwinCities.com reports that:

Theodore Kowalzek had run-ins with the law, but his family said a police standoff that ended in his death was excessive and could have been prevented.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at TwinCities.com.

Hammer

United States

#153 Jan 4, 2010
The Real Whatever wrote:
<quoted text>
Nobody is supposed to say a thing about any of you. And yet, before the investigation is complete, you can make all of these accusations against the police, including accusing them of cold-blooded murder. Plus, you make it sound as though 150 officers were just so bored that they had nothing better to do than harass a 70 year old man, whose obvious alcholism has drawn many confrontations with law enforcement. If the county had forbidden these people to be on the property, why did the police accompany them them there? Also, tenants are allowed to retrieve their property for at least 60 days after termination of the lease, even more in some jurisdictions. The forbid them access is breaking the law.
I am sorry for your loss, and I understand your need to blame someone other than your father. However, you will need to accept over time that he played a large role in the escalation of this situation. Fire a gun at police, they will fire back and with a force much greater than yours. That is their job.
PS. What's with the "2"'s? Do you think you're Prince or something?
I guess you are completely clueless, or are just a heartless dirtbag. Craig and his crack whore girlfriend were leaches that stayed with ted for free, you know not paying rent, because ted was that way, he helped people out that were down and out, they owed him money that he had lent them, thats all he wanted back. I also have hunted with the man, and if he was to have shot at anyone in his yard, that person would have had a hole in him. The sheriffs department screwed this one up completely. The correct thing to do was for them to come to the door and talk to him, not just come into his yard and do what ever they want. There is such a thing as private property rights yet in America. Ted was right, The Sheriff's office was in the wrong. Anoka county has always been there to trample on your rights, if you are a resident, maybe you can someday be the recipient of thier hospitality. What are those cowards next target, a retirement home, or the senior center? Makes one proud of the law enforcement community!!!!
CAROL

Saint Cloud, MN

#154 Jan 4, 2010
jkatze wrote:
This is tragic all the way round. I do not believe officers use force just to use force. But in light of all the violence in general and the murder of police specifically, the public is asking officers to be psychic in determining the intent of a shooter. The incident begs questions: If the man had 8 kids and the stand-off lasted 15 hours, were the kids notified at least by neighbors? Did none of the 8 hear about the stand-off? Was the shooter known to resort to guns? There are many questions here.
btw K-9 officers are officers covered by laws similar to their human counterparts. The bond between the two is strong. Once the K-9 officer was killed, the human officers had good reason to believe the shooter would target them as well.
This is sad on so many levels.
YES I WAS CALLED ON THIS MATTER BY OTHER FAMILY,AND YES I BEGGED THE COPS 2 LET ME THROUGH 2 TALK 2 MY DAD, I WAS THERE ALL NITE UNTIL 7:30 THE NEXT MORNING, THEY WOULDN'T GIVE US A UPDATE ON ANYTHING!!
NSP

Plymouth, MN

#155 Jan 5, 2010
It's not just Anoka County, living in Ramsey County and North Saint Paul I see the same actions by government.

NSP code enforcement officers sneek around private property taking photos of "violations" and the "meter reader" reports infractions on private property to the Gestapo.

In one case a house was judged to be uninhabitable and the city ran the residents out of the house then the Gestapo SWAT team used the house for training, basically trashing the house like Ted's house. Then the city built a new house on the lot and it is now for sale. They call it improvement.

The government is very judgemental and has no problem terrorizing residents and using their power to run people out of their houses. Pretty sad because it seems like we are evolving into a Nazi form of government!

Nazi's judged Jews to be undesirable and exterminated them in the USA in 2010 the Gestapo judges someone with a record, burning and unlicensed dog, to be undesirable and KILLS THEM!

Let God be their judge.

==========
Hammer wrote:
<quoted text>
I guess you are completely clueless, or are just a heartless dirtbag. Craig and his crack **** girlfriend were leaches that stayed with ted for free, you know not paying rent, because ted was that way, he helped people out that were down and out, they owed him money that he had lent them, thats all he wanted back. I also have hunted with the man, and if he was to have shot at anyone in his yard, that person would have had **** in him. The sheriffs department screwed this one up completely. The correct thing to do was for them to come to the door and talk to him, not just come into his yard and do what ever they want. There is such a thing as private property rights yet in America. Ted was right, The Sheriff's office was in the wrong. Anoka county has always been there to trample on your rights, if you are a resident, maybe you can someday be the recipient of thier hospitality. What are those cowards next target, a retirement home, or the senior center? Makes one proud of the law enforcement community!!!!

Since: Jun 09

Lincoln, NE

#156 Jan 5, 2010
Hammer wrote:
<quoted text>
I guess you are completely clueless, or are just a heartless dirtbag. Craig and his crack **** girlfriend were leaches that stayed with ted for free, you know not paying rent, because ted was that way, he helped people out that were down and out, they owed him money that he had lent them, thats all he wanted back. I also have hunted with the man, and if he was to have shot at anyone in his yard, that person would have had **** in him. The sheriffs department screwed this one up completely. The correct thing to do was for them to come to the door and talk to him, not just come into his yard and do what ever they want. There is such a thing as private property rights yet in America. Ted was right, The Sheriff's office was in the wrong. Anoka county has always been there to trample on your rights, if you are a resident, maybe you can someday be the recipient of thier hospitality. What are those cowards next target, a retirement home, or the senior center? Makes one proud of the law enforcement community!!!!
No, I believe in being responsible for your own situation. Yes, there are private property rights. All news accounts are listing the people as tenants. If that is true, the 60 day window kicks in, regardless of what kind of money they owe you. If he supposedly had this paper, who granted it to him, and if this is indeed true, why did he not show this to the sheriff? Somebody else's property on your land does not make it yours. He chose not show this supposed paper to the sheriff and fired shots when they returned to retrieve the second vehicle. If the paper was a restraining order or similar, he should have produced it. Otherwise, the sheriff had every reason to believe they were rightly retrieving their property. They would have likely had to produce ownership papers to the sheriff, as well evidence of being tenants.

This is always ridiculous in these situations. The police cannot comment until the investigation is complete, but in the meantime everybody else can make every ridiculous accusation against them. Then in many cases, something surfaces that shows how the person themselves actually escalated the situation. But firing a shot, in the air or not, is perceived as a threat. This also explains why they didn't allow any civilians, including the family in the area. It's their fault if a civilian is harmed. He chose to turn it into a standoff, and the police responded accordingly. And it doesn't play out like on cop shows. They remove all civilians from the area.

Another way this could have played out is to produce the paper. Most likely, though, the police would have advised him that any money owed to him was a civil matter and he could not keep their property in return. He could have then had his day in court. But no, he initiated a standoff, fired a gun, and the situation was blown way out of proportion. And now of course, it is everyone else's fault but his.
dda

United States

#157 Jan 5, 2010
The Real Whatever wrote:
<quoted text>
No, I believe in being responsible for your own situation. Yes, there are private property rights. All news accounts are listing the people as tenants. If that is true, the 60 day window kicks in, regardless of what kind of money they owe you. If he supposedly had this paper, who granted it to him, and if this is indeed true, why did he not show this to the sheriff? Somebody else's property on your land does not make it yours. He chose not show this supposed paper to the sheriff and fired shots when they returned to retrieve the second vehicle. If the paper was a restraining order or similar, he should have produced it. Otherwise, the sheriff had every reason to believe they were rightly retrieving their property. They would have likely had to produce ownership papers to the sheriff, as well evidence of being tenants.
This is always ridiculous in these situations. The police cannot comment until the investigation is complete, but in the meantime everybody else can make every ridiculous accusation against them. Then in many cases, something surfaces that shows how the person themselves actually escalated the situation. But firing a shot, in the air or not, is perceived as a threat. This also explains why they didn't allow any civilians, including the family in the area. It's their fault if a civilian is harmed. He chose to turn it into a standoff, and the police responded accordingly. And it doesn't play out like on cop shows. They remove all civilians from the area.
Another way this could have played out is to produce the paper. Most likely, though, the police would have advised him that any money owed to him was a civil matter and he could not keep their property in return. He could have then had his day in court. But no, he initiated a standoff, fired a gun, and the situation was blown way out of proportion. And now of course, it is everyone else's fault but his.
Which The sheriff would of known about, If He would of went to door like an honest person does! So What your saying that I or anyone else can come on your land anytime we feel like it!!! I'm so glad your willing to give on your rights so easily!! The goverment will be glad your that easy to walk on!! You could next!!!
wake up

Minneapolis, MN

#158 Jan 5, 2010
Outraged68 wrote:
<quoted text>
If he "shot the gun in the air" as you say, then how did the dog succumb to a fatal gunshot wound??? Did he appear in mid air and hover there? Maybe you should get the facts straight before you stand in judgement. I am pretty sure you were not next to your dad when all this took place.
he shot his gun long before the stand off started
Judge Roy Bean

Minneapolis, MN

#159 Jan 5, 2010
What's the back story on Anoka wanting his land?
Baby gurl

United States

#160 Jan 5, 2010
They want his land 2 put a road through his yard and poss build houses
Judge Roy Bean

Minneapolis, MN

#161 Jan 5, 2010
Huh. Isn't this a little too convenient then?
confussed of facts

Minneapolis, MN

#162 Jan 5, 2010
A preliminary autopsy conducted by the Anoka County medical examiner determined that a 70-year-old man Ham Lake man died as a result of blood loss associated with multiple gunshot wounds. None of the wounds were self-inflicted.
A nearly 16-hour stand-off between police and the homeowner happened at this Ham Lake home located at 11717 Concord Drive N.E. from the afternoon of Dec. 30 to the morning of Dec. 31. Photo by Eric Hagen
Theodore Steven Kowalzek was killed during a stand-off with police that began around 4:30 p.m. Dec. 30 and ended Dec. 31 when authorities found him dead at 8 a.m.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is investigating the incident and discovered that a member of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office had fired his weapon during the first raid on Kowalzek’s home.
The stand-off began when a couple was recovering a van from Kowalzek’s Ham Lake property, located at 17717 Concord Drive N.E. Anoka County Sheriff’s Office deputies were assisting at the request of the couple when gunfire was heard from the direction of the residence. Deputies called for back-up and evacuated the area.
Tear gas was shot through the windows and siding of the home throughout the stand-off to get Kowalzek to come out, according to Capt. Dave Jenkins of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office.
Capt. Brian Podany of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office said after negotiators attempted to talk with Kowalzek multiple times over the loudspeaker and phone, the first entry attempt was made around midnight on Dec. 31.
A seven-year-old Belgian Malinois patrol dog named Rocky was at the front of a group of Anoka County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team members as they entered the home to arrest Kowalzek, who fired his weapon at the group, killing the dog. One member of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team returned fire. Jenkins said this SWAT Team member is on paid administrative leave.
The SWAT Team retreated from the home because they were vunerable with no place to take cover, Jenkins said.
Around 8 a.m. Dec. 31, the SWAT team entered the home and found Kowalzek unresponsive.
Skoogman said the BCA is interviewing all officers who were at the stand-off to piece together the time line and find out what happened.
Jenkins said the reason officers did not attempt to enter the home for several hours was because of tactics and safety.
“You’re in a situation where it’s extremely volatile,” Jenkins said.“We couldn’t sell him short that we lay his arms down.”
A device from the Bloomington Police Department Bomb Squad helped locate Kowalzek in his home and the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team re-entered the home the morning of Dec. 31.
According to the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, the Anoka Police Department SWAT Team, Minnesota BCA and State Patrol SWAT teams also assisted the sheriff’s office. Jenkins said these teams provided support with perimeter control and firing the tear gas, but Anoka County SWAT was the only team to enter the home.
Family questions response
Marie Kinsey of East Bethel feels her father’s death could have been prevented. She questions why she was unable to talk to him during the stand-off.
Kinsey said police told her that it was too dangerous for her to approach the home and she was not allowed to call because it would hinder the investigation.
An officer allegedly told Kinsey that her phone would be confiscated if she attempted to call her father, she said.
Before that, Kinsey said she was out of sight when she tried to call him, but nobody answered. Kowalzek did not have an answering machine.
According to Skoogman, he does not know all the details of what happened yet, but said there is generally no official policy on whether family members can talk to a suspect during a stand-off.
Each case is different, but he said the BCA usually does not allow a family member to talk to a suspect.
confussed of facts

Minneapolis, MN

#163 Jan 5, 2010
A friend of her daughter’s had heard about the incident over a police scanner the evening of Dec. 30, Kinsey said.

She called a police information line to seek information, her name and number were taken and a law enforcement official called her back and briefed her on the situation, she said.

Kinsey and her son decided around 9:30 p.m. to leave their East Bethel home, so they could see what was going on for themselves. Kowalzek’s home was in sight when they were stopped by police about 10 p.m. Dec. 30 and told they could go no further. They were escorted to the parking lot of the Cedar United Methodist Church where law enforcement had its base for the incident.

Kinsey and her son went home around 3 a.m.

The couple recovering their van had rented a room from her father for about a year and had started to move out in early December, according to Kinsey.

To the best of her knowledge, the couple had retrieved all of their property that was in the home.

More about “Teddy”

“Teddy” was a good guy who never talked bad about anybody, according to Todd Chester, who owns the Route 65 Pub and Grub restaurant in East Bethel that Kowalzek would go to. He once brought his Bobcat to Route 65 when some dirt needed to be moved for a project, Chester said.
Kowalzek was born July 11, 1939 on the family farm in Harding to Steven and Christine (Brisk) Kowalzek. He was the oldest of 16 children. He grew up in Harding and moved to Ham Lake from Fridley in 1972.

Deborah Kowalzek of Brainerd said her father loved John Deere tractors. He worked in one of the company’s mechanical repair shops for a little while in his early 20s. He owned several John Deere tractors throughout his life that he showed off at local tractor pull events.

Kowalzek held many different types of jobs in his life. Deborah said he was a welder, logger, diesel mechanic and a truck driver.

In his spare time, he also loved watching old western movies, especially those starring John Wayne.

Kowalzek lived in the same Ham Lake home since he moved there in 1972. He used to have a small hobby farm on this property that had several horses, cattle and pigs. He also had chickens, ostriches and other exotic birds at one point, according to Deborah.

The children were basically all raised in Ham Lake. Deborah said her youngest sibling Julie was about a year old when they moved to Ham Lake.

Kowalzek was part of a very large family. He had five daughters, three sons, a stepdaughter, 16 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren along with many other relatives.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com
Kin in Seattle

Los Angeles, CA

#164 Jan 5, 2010
Did it ever accure to any of you, that this was a Brother, husband, grandfather, and MY uncle. The fact you all attack Missy for questioning what happened to her father is unreal to me, This is a 70 year old man who worked for what he had, and yes had a record, lets for a moment think about the things we have done and when you are 70 lets use these things to decide weather you are a good person or not, then attack your family for caring about what happened to you! Missy honey my heart and prayers go out to you and the rest of our family!
Kin in Seattle

Los Angeles, CA

#165 Jan 5, 2010
Me too wrote:
<quoted text>
Nut case
I hope you lose a close family member and someone treats you the same way you are treating my family, You are a bad person and what goes around comes back ten fold you sick fahk, He was loved by many and who are you to say different so all I have to say to you is GO TO HELL!
inisint bystandard

United States

#166 Jan 5, 2010
You don't know me and thank GOD for that because you as the family are quick to blame these so called renters of your dad. Now as I said you don't know me,but what i didn't say was i have heard all about everyone of you from your dads drunken mouth. From his lips to his every swallow of his acholic choice how all his kids were worthless!!!! Never came to visit even though you lived just down the road. Infact is'nt sad when you only get to see your dads when he is smashed or at the bar? Or better yet lets hog pile good ole dad with all the so called " hobby farm animals" You his children were infact the ones whom owed him ALOT of cash for all of your abused pets,feed for these animals,boarding rent for at least two horses,at least 3 dogs, and yes even a few cats. Your all fools if you think the humane society hasent been watching all the filthy animals starve and all of a sudden disappear. One more thing what exactly does a "crack whore" look like? The old saying goes a skunk smells his/her own hole first!!!! If you know what one looks like maybe,just maybe your one as well!!! Did it even occur to you that these renters also may feel your pain at some level? After all they are human and also feel pain. I can't imagine that someone would benefit in anyway from a tradgic loss of a human life over a stupid vehicle. Bottem line is the only people whom will ever without a doubt know the truth are dead,Teddy and the k-9 officer,and the person whom delivered the final blow, and god.
Kin in Seattle wrote:
<quoted text> I hope you lose a close family member and someone treats you the same way you are treating my family, You are a bad person and what goes around comes back ten fold you sick fahk, He was loved by many and who are you to say different so all I have to say to you is GO TO HELL!
Brandy

Brooklyn, NY

#167 Jan 6, 2010
Mom don't worry about them pile of dirt bags we will fight for the justice grandpa should of had and will see grandpa in another place when it's time till them he is watchin over us ok I do love u I realy do I do miss grandpa and want him back
Enraged daughter 3

United States

#168 Jan 6, 2010
Ok there were never any animals removed from my dads home. The horses that were at my dads 4 a yr were mine. They were not abused or starving. And i paid 4 my horses. You know the bottom line here is you people talking crap dont know my dad or his family. So stop talking s*it! And fyi i have seen and spent time with my dad when he was not drinking. And i do not believe my dad would call his kids worthless.

Since: Jun 09

Lincoln, NE

#169 Jan 6, 2010
Kin in Seattle wrote:
<quoted text> I hope you lose a close family member and someone treats you the same way you are treating my family, You are a bad person and what goes around comes back ten fold you sick fahk, He was loved by many and who are you to say different so all I have to say to you is GO TO HELL!
If you want condolences go to the guest book on his obit. This didn't have to happen, I agree, but your uncle totally caused the whole thing. It is a free country and we can make whatever comment we wish about a news story.That's why this page is here. Much like you all can trash the cops knowing that they cannot defend themselves.
Good Job to the good guys

Minneapolis, MN

#170 Jan 6, 2010
Thank you officers for taking care of this hoodlum/thug. At least I dont have to waste my tax money on this thug. Close the atlantic borders now. No more of these scums. Keep up the good work.
dda

United States

#171 Jan 6, 2010
You could be the next one the (gestapo) comes after!!!
Good Job to the good guys wrote:
Thank you officers for taking care of this hoodlum/thug. At least I dont have to waste my tax money on this thug. Close the atlantic borders now. No more of these scums. Keep up the good work.
ranchhand

United States

#172 Jan 6, 2010
law abiding citizen wrote:
since 1987, Theodore Kowalzek had been in court more than a dozen times, facing charges involving multiple allegations of drunken driving and other motor vehicle offenses, illegal burning, trespassing, damage to property and assault.
He was probably the 1st person to get a DUI on a tractor- also what gives him the right to shot at those innocent people that stopped to pick up their vehicle and called the police to begin with. Once the cops arrived why not come out and talk to them - not shoot at them

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