Cottage Grove man arrested after ramming squad car pleads guilty to federal gun charge

A Cottage Grove felon who was armed when arrested after ramming a police squad car has pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm.

Jason S. Kearns, 38, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

Kearns, 38, eluded police in October after officers witnessed him allegedly taking part in a drug deal outside a house in Woodbury, according to the criminal complaint filed against him. On Nov. 14, police found Kearns, who had previously identified himself as a member of the Aryan Brotherhood gang, in the driver’s seat of a truck outside a Raising Cane’s restaurant in Woodbury, according to the complaint.

After one squad car stopped in front of his truck and another approached from the side, Kearns accelerated his truck forward, ramming the police vehicle head-on. Kearns then reversed his truck, with his wife inside, drove into a curb and was pinned by the two police vehicles, according to the complaint.

Kearns, armed with a Smith & Wesson 9-mm semiautomatic pistol, exited the truck and ran to a parking lot across the street, the complaint states. Officers drew their firearms and issued multiple commands to Kearns to drop his firearm, officials said, but he continued walking through the parking lot and then stopped and knelt down in the snow, still refusing to drop his gun.

Kearns eventually dropped the gun – which was loaded with a round chambered and 11 rounds in the magazine – and surrendered. He also was found to be carrying a large knife, according to the complaint.

A search of his truck revealed quantities of methamphetamine, hypodermic needles and a digital scale.

Kearns later expressed regret that he had not fired at the arresting officers, according to the complaint.

Because Kearns has previous felony convictions in Chisago, St. Croix, and Pierce Counties, including assault and armed robbery, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition at any time.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Washington County Sheriff’s Office; the Woodbury Police Department and the Cottage Grove Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily A Polachek is prosecuting the case. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

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