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Rolette, N.D., standoff suspect charged with murder

ROLETTE, N.D.—A Rolette man police arrested Tuesday, July 31, after an eight-hour standoff is facing a murder charge, a day after the lead prosecutor in the case said no one was seriously injured.

Ronald Wayne Wootan, 49, is accused of intentionally shooting James Pochant with a firearm and killing him, according to court documents. Court documents allege he also shot at officers during an eight-hour standoff.

If convicted Wootan could face life in prison without parole.

Wootan also faces felony charges of attempted murder, terrorizing, reckless endangerment and preventing arrest in relation to the standoff. He appeared in court Wednesday morning and will be represented by Tyrone J. Turner of Larson Latham Huettl LLP.

His bond is set at $1 million.

Wootan will appear in court again on Oct. 29.

The murder charge comes after the Rolette County State's Attorney's office released information Tuesday that there were "no serious injuries sustained during, or as a result of the standoff."

Rolette County State's Attorney Ryan Thompson refused to comment when reporters asked him about previous comments.

The lone police officer in Rolette responded to a 911 call about a domestic dispute at 605 Third Ave. around 1 a.m., reports show. Other nearby agencies arrived shortly after.

Wootan allegedly was standing outside the home and refused to lay down his firearm when officers from the Rolette County Sheriff's Office arrived, a criminal complaint said. He went into the home and continually threatened to kill people, according to court documents.

Wootan allegedly shot at officers and hit a Minot Police Department SWAT vehicle, according to a criminal complaint. It's unclear how many rounds he allegedly fired.

The woman who called 911 was taken to safety with her child and nearby homes were evacuated, a news release said.

Thompson said Wootan tried to run from the house during the standoff but was arrested using "non-lethal means."

Thompson said via email Tuesday evening "there were no serious injuries sustained during, or as a result of the standoff."

Court documents reveal few details about Pochant's death, including whether he was inside the home when he was killed or what time he died. Court documents said he died the same day as the shootout.

Rolette Mayor Blaine Scott said the people involved in the shooting were new to the community. He described Rolette as a small, tight-knit community. The 2010 census reported just under 600 people live within the city located about 75 miles northwest of Devils Lake.

"Everyone is in shock," Scott said. "All you can hear on Main Street is 'Wow, I can't believe this happened in our town.'"

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