Denzel T. Sanders, 26, of Black River Falls was arrested Monday after leading an armed four-hour standoff with police in the grove area of Black River Falls.
After Sanders was arrested, four guns were found in the apartment he was barricaded in during the standoff with police at 119 S. Third St.
“We after the fact found that there were four (guns). The guns had a long range or were a high-powered rifle all the way up to pistols with different calibers,” Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera said.
The incident ended after Black River Falls Police Chief Kelly Bakken negotiated with Sanders for 45 minutes, ending the standoff peacefully with no guns fired at 6:24 p.m.
“She had the primary link during this situation where she was the negotiator. She did have a good conversation with him and was able to negotiate well and get him to comply with her requests and come on out,” Waldera said adding that Tom Sharp with the Department of Corrections also aided in the negotiation process.
Bakken was also the previous negotiator for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office when she was the captain there before becoming the Black River Falls Police Chief.
During the standoff, Sanders was also using Facebook Live to broadcast the event from inside the apartment, which is something the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is currently working on obtaining the full video.
“We will get that of course because of our preservation of that information, but he was publishing something on Facebook that we are trying to get right now,” Waldera said.
The parts of the video Waldera has seen do show Sanders smoking marijuana, so Waldera expects drug usage may have been a factor in the standoff. Waldera did not have any information that the standoff was related to alcohol usage.
How the incident began
The standoff started when a woman called in a disorderly conduct situation between herself and Sanders. A Jackson County Sheriff’s Office deputy went to the woman’s residence, but Sanders found out and left the area.
“He made comments that he was going to go downtown, possibly get a gun and harm her. So we had to do a quick intervention,” Waldera said.
The deputy was able to gather Sander’s vehicle information from the woman. A separate deputy in downtown Black River Falls found the vehicle and attempted to make contact and stop the vehicle, but instead Sanders continued driving a short distance.
“The vehicle stopped and the person fled and went up into the residence. The deputy did a short foot pursuit, but because of the allegations of possible firearms, backed up and then called out for resources,” Waldera said.
Communication was sparse with Sanders initially, with the only contact being with deputies through open windows.
“The issue that we had was that the person’s emotions were pretty elevated. He made comments that he was going to harm others. He was very much upset with the domestic relationship issues that were going on—very upset with the person reporting the issue,” Waldera said.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has also discovered that the home the suspect barricaded himself in was not his primary residence.
“We don’t know exactly the details, but there was a residence’s apartment that he went to, but we are getting information that he was temporarily staying there. It wasn’t a primary residence because of the situation he was in,” Waldera said.
Up to two blocks away from the apartment were asked to be evacuated, including two evacuations that were serious across the street and in an apartment next to the event.
“We did have to do an emergency evacuation on two residences because they were within the threat area,” Waldera said. “Based on the information we had, there was a pretty immediate threat to that general area.”
“We appreciate the patience that the residents of Black River Falls had while law enforcement controlled the scene. Several of the residents were asked to leave their homes for safety reasons and several others were not allowed into the area. We are thankful that everything ended safely and no one was injured during the situation,” Bakken said in a statement Tuesday morning.
Sanders was out on probation with a domestic violence past, so he was not supposed to have firearms.
Sanders was charged with failure to comply with officer’s attempt to take into custody, domestic disorderly conduct, obstructing an officer and a probation violation.
Sanders and the woman do have children in common. Waldera said the woman is definitely fearful after this event.
The Black River Falls Police Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department and Black River Falls Municipal Utilities assisted at the scene.
The incident remains under investigation.