Benjamin Hernandez remains in custody following a bond hearing which was held in Lake County court on Thursday morning.
Hernandez, 34, is charged with four counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, a Class 2 felony, related to the incident which occurred at Classic Corner in Madison on Sept. 30. A cash bond of $50,000 was set by the Hon. Patrick Pardy.
The case was outlined in an affidavit filed on Wednesday afternoon and is based on information collected from several law enforcement officers, including Madison Chief of Police Justin Meyer and Lake County Deputy Steve Rowe.
According to the affidavit, the incident began at approximately 11:30 a.m. when Lake County Dispatch received a 911 call in which the reporting party said her adult grandson had entered her residence and left with a shotgun. She identified her grandson as Hernandez and indicated he had attempted suicide in the past.
The affidavit indicates Madison police officers attempted to check on Hernandez at his residence but received an update around 11:48 a.m., when his mother reported he was in a silver vehicle on the east side of Classic Corner. She had gone into the store's bathroom and reported Hernandez was in the vehicle alone, armed with a shotgun.
Officers from both the Madison Police Department and the Lake County Sheriff's Office convened at Classic Corner, the affidavit stated. They located the vehicle and formed a perimeter a short distance away using their marked vehicles. Hernandez was alone in the silver Kia Forte.
Officers initiated communication with Hernandez and contacted the DCI for assistance with negotiations, the affidavit indicates. In addition, two counselors from Community Counseling Services arrived and were in contact with Hernandez.
According to the affidavit, Hernandez was repeatedly instructed to drop his weapon and exit the vehicle unarmed. His counselor reported that he claimed to have the shotgun under his shirt with the muzzle under his chin. Hernandez apparently told his counselor the shotgun was loaded.
The affidavit indicates, "Hernandez stated he wanted the police to leave and that he wanted to go to Avera Hospital with his mother." After DCI agents also entered the negotiations, Hernandez repeatedly threatened to kill himself.
He also threatened to shoot officers and to point the shotgun at officers so they would have to shoot him, according to the affidavit. During this time, he attempted to keep an eye on officers by adjusting vehicle mirrors and by opening and closing passenger-side doors.
When Hernandez did not surrender despite efforts to compel him to do so, an officer fired two "less than lethal" rounds at him, the affidavit indicates. One round struck the rear passenger door of the vehicle and the other struck Hernandez "near his pelvis" through the open front passenger door.
The affidavit states that despite being injured, Hernandez remained in the vehicle and, according to officer reports, pointed the muzzle of his gun at several officers with his finger on the trigger. At approximately 2:25 p.m., another officer fired a single shot from a patrol rifle.
After this round was fired, law enforcement officers were able to approach the vehicle, according to the affidavit. They found Hernandez in the passenger seat with an apparent gunshot wound to his left upper chest. Officers applied first aid and removed the shotgun from the area.
Hernandez was transported by ambulance to Madison Regional Health System and later flown to Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls. His wounds were described as non-life-threatening.
Following the incident, the officer whose shot ended the stand-off reported hearing the shotgun cycling, the affidavit indicated. This indicated the weapon was being loaded. The officer watched Hernandez through the patrol rifle optic and saw him open the passenger door "and present a shotgun."
The officer reported seeing Hernandez's hand on the trigger and the barrel pointed toward a group of four officers, the affidavit stated. "When he pointed it at us, I shot," the officer is quoted as saying.
The DCI agent who investigated the incident indicated Hernandez should be charged with aggravated assault against each of the officers in the group. A Class 2 felony has a penalty of up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
Manny de Castro of Madison has been appointed to represent Hernandez. His next court hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Oct. 28.