In a tension-filled situation in South Dakota, a man engaged in a near-six-hour standoff with law enforcement, barricading himself inside a garage, igniting a fire, and creating a high-stakes situation on Saturday. The confrontation ended with his arrest after successful negotiations led him to surrender, as reported by authorities.
The individual, a 37-year-old man, inflicted significant damage to the property, amounting to a felony. Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton disclosed that the man, suspected of arson, was apprehended following this alarming incident.
Sheriff Dutton revealed that the suspect is battling serious mental health issues, potentially exacerbated by self-administered substances. Following his surrender, the deputies escorted him for both medical and mental health evaluations. James D. Randazzo is set to be transferred to the Lewis and Clark County Detention Center, where he faces charges of arson, a felony classification.
The crisis began to unfold at 1:25 p.m., as reported by dispatchers, and the man was finally taken into custody around 7:15 p.m. The garage, located in the 5800 block of Pinecone Road, off Spokane Creek Road, was not owned by the reportedly homeless man. He caused considerable damage to the building during his barricade.
A relative of the man alerted dispatchers to the situation, expressing concerns over his suicidal tendencies and stating that he had broken into the shed with gasoline and a torch in hand. Negotiators managed to establish contact with the man via cellphone.
“The negotiators held steadfast and were able to finally talk him into coming out and surrendering peacefully,” Sheriff Dutton stated, emphasizing that the arrest was executed without further complications.
Responding to the scene were members of the Lewis and Clark County deputies, St. Peter’s Ambulance, Helena Police Department, and Tri-Lakes Volunteer Fire Department, including support from iFlyBigSky for drone operations. A search warrant for the garage was secured prior to the drone deployment.
Sheriff Dutton praised the exemplary response of all first responders, noting their professionalism and respect towards the suspect throughout the operation. This incident marks a notable event in South Dakota, blending elements of high drama, tense negotiations, and a peaceful resolution under challenging circumstances.