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Police Officer Shot, Hostages Held in Standoff With Rancher

March 21, 1996

WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) _ A local rancher walked into an American Legion club with a deer rifle and took two men hostage, then shot a policeman, witnesses said Wednesday night.

Keith Braddock, a Watford City policeman, was shot when he went to investigate the incident shortly before 5:30 p.m., said David ``Skip″ Drovdal, who owns a hardware store across the street.

Drovdal, a state representative, said his father, Bud Drovdal, was one of the men being held hostage, and identified the other as Elmo Sorenson of Keene.

Watford City Police Chief Daryl Vance declined to confirm if Braddock was killed in the shooting, saying only that the officer remained inside the bar.

The gunman was using Braddock’s police radio to talk with other officers outside, but the batteries eventually died, Vance said.

Officers cordoned off the area but didn’t immediately try to enter the building, said Jim Hughes, superintendent of the state Highway Patrol.

Vance said the gunman, identified by witnesses as a local rancher, had demanded food, which was delivered.

About a dozen men escaped from the club when the man walked in carrying at least one deer rifle, witnesses said.

Watford City is a community of about 1,800 people in western North Dakota.

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