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Somerset man arrested for openly carrying loaded weapons near schools

A Somerset man was arrested Tuesday, July 23, for carrying loaded weapons near schools and not cooperating with police.

Mark J. Hoffman, 23, of rural Somerset was found walking and carrying two weapons near Somerset Middle School at approximately 12:11 p.m.

Officers responding to the emergency call found Hoffman near the intersection of Oak Street and Sunrise Drive. He was allegedly carrying an AR15 style rifle on a sling across his back and a Glock, semi-automatic 45 caliber pistol in a holster on his hip. According to a press release from the Somerset Police Department, the weapons were in plain sight.

Officers attempted to questions the man about his intentions, but the man refused to give officers any information. He allegedly told officers that he was within his rights to carry the weapons, and he allegedly refused to identify himself.

Since the original reported location of the man was within 1,000 feet of a school, officers determined that Hoffman was in violation of state statutes. Only persons who fall under state statute exceptions are allowed to carry weapons near schools, according to the press release. Since Hoffman allegedly refused to identify himself, Police Chief Doug Briggs said the officers couldn't determine if the man fell under the allowed exceptions in state statutes.

Hoffman was arrested for obstructing an officer and disorderly conduct. Both weapons were found to have high-capacity magazines and were loaded.

Hoffman was eventually identified and he was booked into the St. Croix County Jail. The case is being referred to the St. Croix County District Attorney's office.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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