MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The family held hostage by gunman on a crime spree is telling their story.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says Noah Ante Erickson, 34, left a trail of violence Monday night through three metro suburbs. He kidnapped a woman at gunpoint, sexually assaulted her, and then stole her vehicle. He then held a family hostage in their home before stealing their vehicle. Soon afterwards, Erickson died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while exchanging gunfire with police.READ MORE: ‘Now We’re Able To Make A Living Income Doing What We Love’: New Legislation Caps Cottage Food Salary
Erickson, who had a long criminal history, was convicted in Anoka County in 2015 of leading police on a chase while his 7-year-old son was in the vehicle.
Even a simple glance at the staircase in her Cottage Grove home will never be the same for Lisa Patterson.
“This was a stranger with a gun here, and it all kind of came rushing back again for sure,” Lisa said.
The front door, still splintered at the handle, marks the beginning of nearly 10 minutes of terror, when Erickson burst through Monday morning.
“He was pointing the gun at my head and said, ‘Who is in the house?’ and I said, ‘My husband and my two children.’ And he said, ‘It’s OK, I’m not going to hurt you,’” Lisa said.
She says Erickson was erratic.
“He kept moving the gun from my head to his own head,” Lisa said.
Erickson then asked for some water. As they moved to the kitchen, she saw police outside with guns drawn.
“It kind of hits you that this is really for real,” Lisa said. “I gave him the water and I said, ‘I’m really afraid for my children upstairs,’ and he said, ‘It’s OK … I’m a dad, too.’ And he said, ‘I think I’m going to die today,’” Lisa said.READ MORE: Pamela Espeland, Twin Cities Art Journalism Icon, Dies
Upstairs, Craig soon became aware his wife’s life was in danger.
“I said, ‘I’m at the top of the stairs, I’m coming down,’ and it was very loud, he was yelling to me,” Craig said.
As Craig came down, their daughters fearfully waited in their rooms.
“She told me later, she said, ‘I was waiting for the gunshots,’ and she said, ‘I really thought you were a goner, Mom,’” Lisa said.
Erickson then asked for a place to think. The couple suggested their garage, where he went.
“I just ran up the stairs as fast as I could, told the kids there’s a gunman in the house, let’s get out of here, ran down the stairs and we ran out the front door, and the police were yelling, ‘Run! Run! Run!’” Craig said.
With their keys left in the truck, Erickson drove off, and soon crashed in a nearby yard. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s office says he fatally shot himself during a shootout with police.
The Pattersons still wish no one had to die that day, but being alive to tell their story is what they’re holding on to.
“I certainly looked at the blue sky a little differently today,” Lisa said. “You definitely thank your lucky stars for the way things turned out.”
The officers involved in the shooting — Cottage Grove Police Captain Gwen Martin and Woodbury Police Sargent Omar Maklad — are on paid leave, which is standard. Martin is an 18-year veteran of her department, and Maklad has been on Woodbury’s force for 16 years.MORE NEWS: Allina's Buffalo Clinic Reopens With Renovations Months After Deadly Shooting
The BCA is leading the investigation.