Make this page my home page
  1. Drag the home icon in this panel and drop it onto the "house icon" in the tool bar for the browser

  2. Select "Yes" from the popup window and you're done!

Home > News > 

Man's rampage wounds chief, causes courthouse fire damage


August 22, 2005
PrintCommentRSS

Man's rampage wounds chief, causes courthouse fire damage

CAVALIER, N.D. - A man being served with a protection order shot his way past police, set fire to the courthouse and jail - then returned as the fires raged and shot the police chief, officials said.

James Thorlakson, 54, managed to escape again after wounding the chief but was injured during gunfights with officers, officials said. He was arrested at a hospital about 30 miles away.

Thorlakson was charged Sunday with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of arson, said Stuart Askew, the Pembina County state's attorney. Other charges are possible, he said.

Both Thorlakson and Cavalier Police Chief Ken Wolf were hospitalized Sunday in satisfactory condition.

Officials said the rampage began Friday when officers tried to serve Thorlakson, of rural Hensel, with a protection order. Sheriff Wayne Samdahl said he could not discuss details of the order.

Armed with a pistol, Thorlakson shot at the officers, managed to escape and drove to the county courthouse in Cavalier, about 10 miles northeast, officials said.

Once there, he fired through a glass door at the law enforcement center, which holds the 911 emergency dispatch center, sheriff's office and jail. He splashed gasoline on a wall and set it on fire, the sheriff said. Two prisoners were evacuated and taken to another jail.

Thorlakson then drove to a back door of the nearby courthouse, where he poured gasoline in a hallway and started another fire, the sheriff said.

Thorlakson left the scene, then returned to the courthouse while firefighters were trying to extinguish the flames and shot Wolf, Samdahl said.

"The chief was coming out of the parking lot and didn't see him right away," Samdahl said. The chief was hit in the back of his leg, buttocks and back.

"I'm not sure how much damage was done, but (Wolf) is in stable condition and not happy about the situation," the sheriff said.

Thorlakson then fled again, exchanging gunfire with two deputies. He was missing for about five hours, Samdahl said. He was arrested seeking medical treatment in Park River.

County and state officials said the fires may have caused $1 million in damage. Askew said Thorlakson's initial court appearance, set for early this week, may be moved from Cavalier because of the damage.

"Our courthouse is not functional, and may not be available," Askew said.

Associated PressCopyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



PoliceOne Offers

Breaking Police News

P1 on Facebook

Get the #1 Police eNewsletter

Police Newsletter Sign up for our FREE email roundup of the top news, tips, columns, videos and more, sent 3 times weekly
See Sample

Connect with PoliceOne

Mobile Apps Facebook Twitter Google

PoliceOne Exclusives

Featured Videos