by Heidi L. Everett
A suspect who assaulted a state trooper and spurred a daylong manhunt that locked down St. John’s University and Preparatory School campus Nov. 19 faces six felony charges and one misdemeanor.
According to reports from the Minnesota State Patrol, Devan Dajon Wilson, 29, was arrested without incident at around 6:30 p.m. Thursday evening on the campus of St. John’s University.
The manhunt for Wilson began just after 7:30 a.m. on I-94.
According to a criminal complaint, a state trooper first encountered Wilson in a vehicle parked on the side of I-94 northwest of Avon around 7 a.m. The trooper said Wilson was sleeping and several bottles of alcohol were in the car.
The trooper states Wilson showed impairment on a field sobriety test, then had a result of 0.147 on a breathalyzer test, according to the complaint. When the trooper told Wilson he was under arrest for DWI, the complaint states Wilson punched the trooper in the face and fled the scene in his vehicle.
After Wilson left the scene, officers from multiple agencies began a search of the area. The complaint states Albany’s police chief spotted the car at about 8 a.m. in a mobile home park and followed the vehicle onto eastbound I-94. As additional squad cars joined the pursuit, the complaint states Wilson’s vehicle reached speeds of 90 miles per hour. Stop sticks were used to puncture the vehicle’s tires near the I-94 exit to St. John’s University.
According to the complaint, Wilson jumped out of his car and ran into the woods near the university, prompting St. John’s to lock down the campus.
Around 11 a.m., authorities were alerted to a burglary in one of the university dorms, where a suspect matching Wilson’s description entered a room, threatened a male victim and stole his clothes, car keys and a cell phone.
Around 6:30 p.m., Wilson was found hiding under some stairs.
No force was used when Wilson was taken into custody. He was transported to St. Cloud hospital for observation and then booked into the Stearns County Jail.
The state trooper had surgery Nov. 20 for three jaw fractures.
Kay Richter, who works in admissions at the university and has two children at the prep school, was on campus Thursday.
“Although I never felt unsafe or in danger, it was a bit of an anxious day,” she said. “I, like the other people in my office, spent a majority of the day in my office with the door closed and locked.”
Richter said law enforcement went office to office making sure the suspect wasn’t inside buildings. “They were courteous and calming,” she said.
“I was glad the prep school was doing distance learning and I didn’t need to worry about my kids being on campus,” Richter added. “I’m grateful everything turned out OK.”
Wilson faces six felony charges, including assault of a peace officer, assault with substantial bodily harm, fleeing a peace officer, burglary, threats of violence and aggravated robbery. He also faces a misdemeanor DWI charge.