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Five-hour standoff ends with man's arrest at Detroit Lakes motel

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DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - A 37-year-old man was arrested without incident after holding police at bay in a Detroit Lakes motel for nearly five hours.

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David William Buethner, who has lived for the past few weeks at the Pine to Palm Motel on West Lake Drive, was arrested and taken to the Becker County Jail about 8:30 p.m.

According to Detroit Lakes Police Chief Kel Keena, Buethner called the police himself about 3:45 p.m. Friday, saying he had been drinking for four weeks straight and was off his medication.

He had been served civil papers on Friday that triggered the crisis, Keena said.

A Detroit Lakes police sergeant responded and saw that Buethner had a gun.

"My understanding was the guy was kind of concealing it," said Sgt. Tim Eggebraaten "He had it in his hand, and our officer didn't see it right away."

In fact, after his arrest, police found a long gun and three handguns, along with about 1,500 rounds of ammunition.

The standoff resulted in the evacuation of the motel and nearby residences and businesses. A several-block area of West Lake Drive, which parallels the Detroit Lakes City Beach, was closed to the public.

The Otter Tail County SWAT team, along with Detroit Lakes Police and Becker County Sheriff's deputies, contained the suspect.

Dan Ianiro, a Pine to Palm guest who said his room was near the suspect's room, said he was getting ready to leave the motel when he heard a police officer shouting "he's got a gun!"

After calling 911, Ianiro said the dispatcher advised him to leave the room as soon as possible through the back window.

When he climbed out the back window with his wife on his back, he saw about 20 police officers pointing their weapons toward the motel.

They were then told to head to Zorbaz restaurant down the road.

Sarah Thunder, also a Pine to Palm guest, said Buethner was an Iraq War veteran.

Eggebraaten said Buethner has been involved with the police at least once in the past, and specifically asked to talk to Dale Stoll of the Fargo Police Department.

"Because of past rapport with him, he trusted him," he said.

Buethner was listed with a Fargo address when he was arrested on DUI charges in June, according to Forum archives.

Buethner was nonthreatening during the standoff, but told officers that he would respond if backed into a corner, Eggebraaten said.

Buethner was taken to Essentia St. Mary's in Detroit Lakes on a 72-hour mental health hold under police guard. The Becker County Attorney's Office will make a decision Monday on whether to file criminal charges or treat it as a case of mental illness, Keena said.

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