Wild month for cops

An altercation at the Valley City VFW Club after midnight on Sunday morning left a Valley City Police Officer on paid administrative leave and wrapped up a wild month for local law enforcement in February.

Officer Randy Schmidt, a 7-year veteran of the VCPD, was off duty when he was involved in an incident with an unidentified woman, but had been working with four other off-duty officers providing security at a Mixed Martial Arts event in the city that evening.

“The accusation is that he physically assaulted a subject at the VFW,” said interim Police Chief Mark McDonald.

The case has been turned over to the Bureau of Criminal Investigations for further review.

In all, local law enforcement made several arrests, broke many cases and had their hands full with activity in the area.

A traffic stop that occurred shortly after the VFW incident resulted in a Fargo man being taken into custody on several charges. David Abdool Hamid, 44, was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a concealed weapon and convicted felon in possession of a weapon. He was also cited for failure to dim his headlights.

Police also took statements from an anonymous caller who reported that his wife had been at Burger King with their child and “a sex offender was hitting on his 3-year-old son.” The statements were compiled for a potential case file.

Late in the evening on Thursday, Feb. 23, a Valley City Police Officer began to pursue a vehicle that was driving south from town on County Road 21. What caught the officer’s attention was that the vehicle was driving on three wheels with sparks shooting out of the front left corner of the vehicle. The vehicle eventually rolled and despite the best efforts of first responders and medics, Dillon Kapaun, 18, later died of injuries sustained in the accident.

A blast of winter weather in the later half of the month kept both police and the Barnes County Sheriff’s Office on their toes. Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Anderson was one of the first respondents to a Monday, Feb. 20 crash on State Highway 1 that took the life of 16-year-old Ashley Meyer of Oakes. That accident also sent five people to the hospital, as a total of 18 vehicles slid off the road in the county and caused nine traffic accidents.

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, Valley City Police working with the Fargo Police Department executed a search warrant in southeast Valley City that saw the arrests of three VC residents on charges stemming from a Feb. 11 robbery in Fargo. According to Fargo Police, Louis Willie Renfro stole about 160 tablets of morphine from a victims apartment in south Fargo. Renfro, his daughter Sausha Marie Renfro, 25, and David Lee Stone, 24, were charged with Class B Felony Robbery.

A Valley City man who was wanted by the U.S. Marshals for over a month was taken into custody in February. Ryan “Flip” Johnson was to report to federal prison in Duluth, Minn. on Jan. 9 but failed to appear. U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson had sentenced Johnson to over 17 years after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute in August. This was Johnson’s third drug-related conviction.

On Friday, Feb. 10, police received a call about a man sleeping in a running car in the middle of the street. The police responded and arrested a 30-year-old Valley City man on suspicion of actual physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated.

On Thursday, Feb. 2, VCPD executed a search warrant which resulted in the arrest of another Valley City man, Corey Koebernick, on suspicion of two burglaries, one attempted break-in, (all Class 3 Felonies), two charges of possession of stolen property and two misdemeanor theft charges.

Koebernick allegedly broke into Picks and Pins and Carpenter Lumber, and attempted to break into Valley Drug. There was an undisclosed amount of cash stolen from Picks and Pins and tools were taken from Carpenter Lumber.

The month kicked off for local law enforcement when a “Signal 100” was announced over State Radio for all available law enforcement officers to mobilize to establish roadblocks to catch suspects involved in a shooting in Beulah on Feb. 1.