A statement was released Friday afternoon by the Bismarck Police Department. It reads, “In regards to the safety message issued 8/31/2023, related to the armed subject who was potentially suicidal: The subject was located by law enforcement in Washington County, Missouri and is being transported to the appropriate facility for evaluation.
“This agency has no criminal charges pending related to this incident. We are uncertain if any criminal acts were perpetrated by this subject in any other jurisdictions. The Bismarck Police and all local enforcement appreciate your assistance in this matter.”
The Bismarck Police Department made an urgent plea via a news release issued on social media and in local media for residents to be on the lookout for a man who, they were told, was walking around the town with an AR-15-style rifle and, according to a family member may be unstable.
“It should be noted that possessing this type of weapon or carrying it openly in public areas does not in and of itself violate any law,” reads the news release sent Thursday afternoon. “Due to the proximity and time of day, the Bismarck School was notified to take appropriate safety measures. Due to this behavior being quite unusual for our community, officers attempted to locate the individual, and our initial attempts were unsuccessful. The subject was last seen in the area of Wallen Road near Highway BB.”
Shortly thereafter, the news release stated that the subject was located and identified. It was discovered the subject was carrying an air-powered rifle, similar to an air-soft or BB rifle, “however, it closely resembles a lethal firearm.”
Since none of the subject’s actions at this point constituted a crime, no action was able to be taken, according to the Bismarck police.
The subject is a white male, 5’9″ tall, approximately 175 pounds, with dark hair, clean-cut and average build.
Thursday (Aug. 31), police officers were contacted by a family member of the subject. That family member disclosed a history of mental illness, drug abuse and suicidal statements made by the individual. “It’s our understanding one of those statements was that the subject may be attempting what we refer to as ‘suicide by cop,’ and he may attempt to enter a school or church with a weapon to accomplish this act.
Area law enforcement agencies are currently seeking this individual to help with taking the subject into custody for a mental health evaluation. “Please be on alert and take the appropriate safety measures. If seen, please contact St. Francois County Central Dispatch 573-431-3131, or dial 911. Please do not approach the individual,” reads the news release. “As always, please remain alert for your own personal safety, and take appropriate daily safety measures. The Bismarck Police and all local enforcement appreciate your assistance in this matter.”