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Update: Local man shot following 7-hour standoff, remains in critical condition

A Hudson father was shot by police early Sunday morning after he threatened his son and three other teens in the family's St. Croix Heights home.

Daniel Craig Christenson, 43, 1321 St. Croix Heights, was shot at the end of a seven-hour standoff with authorities as he exited the front door of his house. Christenson left the house with his gun in hand and did not respond to any commands from the police at the scene. When he raised the gun, officers fired.

He was taken by ambulance to Hudson Hospital where he was airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. He was listed in critical condition on Monday.

The ordeal began around 5:45 p.m. on Saturday with a call to 911 from Zachary Christenson, Daniel's 19-year-old son. According to Hudson Police Department Lt. Paul Larson, Zachary called from a phone inside the house to say that his father had fired a gun at him and three friends also in the house with him. The friends, a girl, 13, and two boys, age 15, were also from Hudson.

Within five minutes of Zachary's first call, Hudson police were on the scene. They were quickly joined by members of the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department, Wisconsin State Patrol and the Emergency Response Unit from both St. Croix and Pierce counties as well as officers from the North Hudson Police Department.

According to Larson, Zachary said his father had been drinking and had fired a "Glock" handgun at him and his friends. Zachary and his friends fled to the basement of the rambler-style home and hid there. Police say Daniel did go down to the basement once and fired several rounds before returning upstairs.

Zachary continued to talk with police about what was happening in the house. About 30 minutes after police arrived, officers saw the head of one of the teens pop up from a basement egress window followed by the three others. Zachary and his friends ran across the yard in different directions toward the police. As they ran to safety, one of the teens was bitten by the St. Croix County police dog but was not seriously injured.

Upon arriving on the scene, police moved quickly to evacuate the neighborhood residents to safety. One resident with medical issues remained in her home but stayed in her basement.

Shooter stayed silent

Daniel Christenson never made any contact with police despite repeated attempts to talk with him throughout the night. Larson said they called the phone number listed to the home as well as several cell phone numbers belonging to family members but he never picked up. Police also used a bullhorn but Christenson did not respond.

Christenson continued to fire his gun sporadically over the next six hours. He kept turning the lights in the house off and on which allowed police to follow his movements on the main floor.

Around 12:45 a.m., police fired a type of pepper spray into the house from the rear in an effort to get Christianson to surrender. Within minutes, Christenson came to the back door and fired at police in the yard there. A St. Croix County deputy shot back but it isn't clear if Christenson was struck.

Police could see Christenson retreat back into the house and come toward the front door, armed with his gun. He came out the door and appeared to be heading toward the garage area where several vehicles were parked. Police shouted at him to stop and drop his weapon. Instead, Christenson raised his gun in the direction of police who then shot him. No police officers were injured in either exchange with Christenson. Christenson's wounds were to his chest and abdomen.

Larson said there were approximately 50 law enforcement officers on the scene during the standoff. The Polk County Sheriff's Department is conducting an investigation into the incident which is standard procedure in an officer involved shooting.

HPD detectives are conducting the investigation into what happened inside the house and have already conducted interviews with Zachary Christenson and the teens that were inside the home with him. Larson said all four of the teens said they were certain that Daniel Christenson was going to shoot them.

According to incident reports, Hudson police have been called to the Christenson home several times since March but none of the calls involved violence. According to neighbors, Daniel Christenson is a truck driver and his son is a graduate of Hudson High School.

Larson had high praise for all of the officers involved in the incident. "They all did an exceptional job in a very difficult and tense situation. They quickly contained the situation and made the area as safe as possible."

For more information see the Oct. 22 edition of the Star-Observer.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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