Worthington man charged with using deadly force against off-duty peace officerWORTHINGTON — A 23-year-old Worthington man is facing a half-dozen charges after threatening and attempting to assault an off-duty police sergeant who happened to be out selling fundraising tickets with his 13-year-old son Friday afternoon.
WORTHINGTON — A 23-year-old Worthington man is facing a half-dozen charges after threatening and attempting to assault an off-duty police sergeant who happened to be out selling fundraising tickets with his 13-year-old son Friday afternoon.
According to the criminal complaint, Worthington Police Sgt. Tim Gaul was sitting in his personal vehicle at a stop sign at the intersection of Linda Lane and First Avenue Southwest when a blue Jeep turned sharply onto Linda Lane, nearly striking Gaul’s Suburban. Gaul yelled for the driver to use his blinker, and the man, later identified as Daniel John Bockenstedt, slammed on his brakes, backed up to Gaul’s vehicle and started swearing, asking Gaul if he had a problem.
Because of Bockenstedt’s loud music, Gaul got out of his own vehicle and approached the Jeep, explaining that he was a police officer. Bockenstedt allegedly stated he could do whatever he wanted and didn’t care if Gaul was a cop.
While talking to the man, Gaul noticed Bockenstedt reaching for something between his front seats. Bockenstedt allegedly pulled a large kitchen knife out and swung toward Gaul, who immediately retreated, told his son the man had a knife and got back in his vehicle.
He told the driver to stay where he was because he was calling the police department. Bockenstedt told Gaul to get out of vehicle so he could “mess him up.”
Concerned for his son’s safety, Gaul backed his vehicle away from the Jeep and Bockenstedt took off.
The complaint states Gaul followed the Jeep so he could keep law enforcement alerted to the man’s location, but the Jeep then slid to the side of the road and partway into a ditch.
Gaul drove past and let officers know what was happening, and was caught off-guard when the Jeep suddenly pulled up next to him in the oncoming lane of traffic on First Avenue Southwest while the vehicles travelled up the hill.
Bockenstedt was allegedly staring at Gaul, screaming and pointing at him, then drove his Jeep directly in front of Gaul’s Suburban, running him onto the shoulder of the road.
Gaul tried to back up, but Bockenstedt got out of his Jeep and approached the Suburban’s driver side door.
Gaul got out of his vehicle and told Bockenstedt he needed to calm down, but Bockenstedt reportedly stated Gaul had messed with the wrong person and was going to pay.
He took several swings at Gaul, which Gaul avoided.
Concerned for the safety of his son and unsure about the whereabouts of the knife, Gaul struck the man in the face three times to stop him.
When Bockenstedt fell to the ground, Gaul also went to the ground in an attempt to control him while he waited for officers to arrive.
Bockenstedt continued to be verbally threatening and combative, and pulled away from Gaul’s grip, attempting to stand.
His aggressive behavior continued until Gaul had to strike him again.
He held Bockenstedt to the ground until police arrived to take him into custody. Gaul then went immediately to check on his son.
Bockenstedt continued to be belligerent and combative, yelling and swearing at officers while resisting arrest.
One officer did a preliminary breath test, which showed a blood alcohol concentration of .103.
At the scene, an officer found the knife on the front passenger seat of the Jeep. It was approximately one foot long from end to end and resembled a kitchen carving knife.
Witnesses at the scene reported seeing the Jeep pass them on the road near Puppy Park, seeing the man try to run Gaul off the road, seeing the men fighting and hearing Gaul identify himself to them as an officer.
One man said he looked into the window of the Jeep and saw the knife.
Another shut the Jeep off after it rolled into the ditch because the music coming from the vehicle was so loud.
Gaul’s son also gave a statement to the officers, and corroborated his father’s account of the incident.
Bockenstedt is charged with first-degree assault-use of deadly force against a peace officer, second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, terroristic threats, fourth-degree assault against a peace officer, test refusal and driving while impaired. His bail was set at $50,000, and his initial court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday at the Prairie Justice Center.
Daily Globe Reporter Justine Wettschreck may be reached at