U police arrest men for pointing guns at passersby

by K.C. Howard

University police arrested two men at gunpoint Nov. 6 after witnesses reported the men pointed guns at passersby from their vehicle near Harvard Street and Washington Avenue.

Adam Lee Longfield, 21, and Matthew Weinhagen, 20, were charged with terroristic threats and booked into Hennepin County Detention Center after police found four replica 9 mm guns in the brown Pontiac in which they were riding.

“(The weapons) fired some type of plastic projectile,” University police Lt. Charles Miner said. “It’s basically something you can buy in a toy store.”

According to the report, the two men told police they were shooting at street signs and not people. But a witness told police he was fearful for his life when a man matching Weinhagen’s description pointed a gun at him from the vehicle.

The projectiles the men were firing can injure people if they hit from a close range, Miner said.

Five people were in the car, but only Longfield and Weinhagen fired shots, according to the report.

The incident was not gang related, Miner added.

In other police news:

university officials said they believe the professor responsible for the acrid smell of natural gas in several University buildings this week accidentally spilled mercaptan down the drain.

Mercaptan is a nontoxic chemical that adds a distinct smell to natural gas, which is odorless in pure form.

The unidentified researcher had been using the chemical for more than a month and disposing of it with a neutralizing device filled with household bleach.

“The researcher had a trap on the apparatus to attempt to capture the mercaptan before it went into the drain,” said Craig Moody, University’s environmental health and safety department acting director. “He overran his trap and exceeded the capacity.”

A small amount of the chemical entered the University sewer system and pervaded several campus buildings on Church Street last week, prompting several self-evacuations.

“We’ve shut down (the researcher’s) operation,” Moody said. “We’re not going to resume until we’ve had a chance to review and approve any changes that might prevent this from happening.”