A Spring Lake Park man faces multiple charges after allegedly shooting at law enforcement during a standoff at his home July 6. The incident was his second standoff with officers in less than two weeks, according to the charges.
Steven Carlos Bezek, 50, has been charged with two felony counts of first-degree assault of a police officer, two felony counts of second-degree assault and one felony count of fourth-degree assault for the July 6 incident.
On July 15 bail was set at $1 million with conditions. As of Monday, July 27, Bezek had not posted bail for the standoffs.
According to the criminal complaint, Bezek’s neighbor on the 7700 block of Jackson Street NE in Spring Lake Park called 911 on July 6 to report that Bezek was acting erratically, making threats and had pointed a handgun with a scope at him. Bezek also allegedly pointed a gun at another neighbor behind his house.
The Spring Lake Park Police Department reported it had numerous calls to Bezek’s residence throughout June including a June 26 standoff with police officers. Investigators had recovered 13 long guns, three handguns, 700 boxes of ammunition and 700 pounds of gunpowder from Bezek’s home after the June standoff, according to the criminal complaint.
Spring Lake Park officers and multiple other agencies responded to Bezek’s home during the second standoff and surrounded the residence.
A police officer ordered Bezek to come out of his residence, but he failed to do so, the charges say.
Police then learned that Bezek had told a friend he was going to blow up using an incendiary device or explosive. Bezek’s friend also told police that Bezek wasn’t making sense and may have been under the influence of LSD or mushrooms, according to the criminal complaint.
The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team arrived on the scene with an armored vehicle.
As a drone was flown over Bezek’s home, officers stationed along the perimeter allegedly heard Bezek say, “Get that thing out of here or I will shoot it down.”
Officers continued to negotiate with Bezek, who went onto his deck unarmed several times before yelling and then going back into his home.
After several hours of negotiations, officers deployed two gas grenades through a window. Bezek responded by shooting a .357-caliber handgun at a neighboring home and then at the armored vehicle four times, the charges say. Five SWAT team members were inside the armored vehicle, and three were standing behind it.
According to the criminal complaint, two additional gas grenades were fired into Bezek’s home, and SWAT team members took him into custody when he went outside onto his deck. Bezek allegedly lunged forward and kicked an officer in the groin.
Bezek was belted onto a stretcher and allegedly said, “Well at least I got to shoot at some cops before I got arrested.”
A black revolver with a scope, 28 boxes of ammunition, a drum-type high capacity magazine, gas masks, blasting caps and fuse wires were found in a subsequent search of Bezek’s home, according to the complaint.
Bezek already faced charges of one felony count of threats of violence and one felony count of reckless discharge of a firearm in a public housing or school zone in relation to the June standoff. He was out on $50,000 bail when the July 6 incident took place.
On July 16 Bezek was ordered to be evaluated on his competency to proceed and for possible mental illness or cognitive impairment in relation to both incidents.
Bezek’s next review hearing for both standoffs is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17.
SLP City Council, residents praise police officers for response
On July 20, the Spring Lake Park City Council and residents of the 7700 block of Jackson Street NE praised police officers’ response during the standoffs.
“I want to thank our Police Department for everything they’ve done,” said Mike Deinken, a resident of the 7700 block of Jackson Street NE. “I hate to see where we’d be without them, and I’d just like to say thank you.”
Deinken’s neighbor Ellen Hinrichs told the council a bullet struck her garage door during the second standoff. She said officers told her that Bezek pointed a gun at her home the morning of the second standoff and said, “You’re going next,” and she ended up with a bullet hole in her garage door.
Hinrichs was thankful the Spring Lake Park Police Department was still patrolling the area heavily. “It makes us feel a lot more comfortable than we were feeling,” she said.
Interim Mayor Bob Nelson praised the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office deputies and SWAT team and the Spring Lake Park, Blaine, Coon Rapids, Fridley and Mounds View police departments, as well as multiple other agencies for their efforts during both standoffs.
“On the two different times this happened with the same individual my thought was it wasn’t going to end good,” Nelson said. “But with the negotiations and everything they did in their dedication and professionalism and the way they reason, they talked down this individual, and he came out alive both times. ... The fact that no one was hurt and that there wasn’t more damage is just really incredible. I think a lot of us are alive for the professionalism of the Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department, the multiple other police departments and our (Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View) Fire Department who came there. It was scary when all hell broke loose, and they made it happen.”
Nelson, a neighbor of Bezek, said Bezek had threatened him and his wife multiple times.
“For an officer to have the restraint when being shot at continuously and to have the outcome we had — which was good, there was nobody hurt — is utterly amazing to me,” Nelson said.
Bezek’s neighbor Bill Nash wrote a letter to the City Council, which was read by City Administrator Daniel Buchholtz at the meeting.
Nash said he’s disabled and confined to a wheelchair.
During first standoff Nash was being hospitalized, and his wife and daughter were home, but Spring Lake Park officers still came to his home to make sure Nash could get to a safe location since he was unable to access the basement due to being in a wheelchair.
During the second standoff, Nash was home alone and fell out of his chair, according to his letter. He called 911, and Spring Lake Park officers and SBM firefighters came to assist him during the standoff.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to our men and women of the Spring Lake Park Police Department for the handling of the two armed standoffs in our city over the last several weeks,” Nash wrote. “All of our officers deserve thanks and respect for protecting our city and its residents in the professional and caring manner they do. ... Thank you doesn’t seem to be enough, but our police officers and its employees forever have my gratitude.”
“It’s very humbling and very appreciated hearing and seeing the outpour of support from our community for our police department,” Spring Lake Park Police Chief Douglas Ebeltoft said.