A south metro man spent part of St. Patrick's Day in jail after he allegedly brandished a gun at another driver on Interstate 35E.
Bobby Neal Munn, 42, is charged with terroristic threats, a felony which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
On Sunday March 17, around 5:23 p.m. the Minnesota State Patrol received report of a gun incident on I-35E in Mendota Heights, near the junction with Highway 13. A trooper in an unmarked car soon caught up with the suspect vehicle, which was traveling south. The suspect driver was speeding, and the officer observed the vehicle abruptly cut across three lanes of traffic without signaling. The vehicle turned off onto Pilot Knob Road.
The trooper followed. As a marked Eagan police squad drove by, the vehicle pulled into the parking lot of Discount Tire, which was closed at the time. As the trooper pulled up and approached, the driver (later identified as Munn) got out and put his hands in the air. At that moment, three Eagan squad cars pulled up.
Once in handcuffs, Munn said there was a gun in the side panel of his door. Officers found a chrome Rossi .357 handgun, with a two-inch barrel, black handle and black Nylon holster. Four hollow-point rounds were found scattered on the driver's side floor, with two more in the cup holder of the center console.
Police spoke to the reporting party, a man who was a passenger in the car that allegedly fell within the sights of Munn's gun. The man said he and his wife were driving south when they encountered Munn. Some driving altercation ensued, though the complaint did not get into detail about what precisely instigated the incident.
At one point, Munn's vehicle was in the lane to the right, behind them. The man said he saw Munn use his left hand to hold up a chrome and black handgun, pointing the barrel directly at the victim, then he saw Munn mouth the word "boom."
For his part, Munn said he had indeed gotten into a roadside row. He further stated the gun was his and that he had a permit to carry. He said he felt "threatened" by the other car's driving conduct, so he took the gun out of the side door pocket and placed it on the dashboard, still in the holster. Munn told officers that he hoped that the occupants of the other car would see the gun and "back off."
Munn admitted that though both he and his passenger had cell phones neither had called the police about the "threatening" behavior, choosing instead to flash the gun at them. He denied pointing the gun directly at anyone or taking it out of the holster. He conceded that he quickly unloaded the bullets because he felt that officers would likely feel threatened if they found him with a loaded gun.
Munn's passenger said she hadn't touched the gun, but that Munn had. She said the gun had been on the dashboard, but would not answer questions as to whether Munn had actually pointed the gun at anyone.
Other than a few speeding tickets, Munn has no criminal record of note.
A judge set Munn's bail at $10,000 bond, which would be reduced to $5,000 if he agreed to abide by the court's conditions. If he was amendable, the court would suspend Munn's permit to carry and bar him from shipping or possession of firearms or ammunition.
Munn has since been released from the Dakota County Jail. His next hearing will take place on June 3.