Man Pleads Guilty in St. Cloud Police Shooting, Knife Assault
ST. CLOUD -- A Willmar man will be sentenced in April after pleading guilty to several charges involving domestic assault and a shootout with police.
Thirty-eight-year-old Lazaro Diaz has pleaded guilty to 2nd-degree assault with a dangerous weapon after assaulting his girlfriend with a knife at a St. Cloud hotel. He pleaded guilty to violating a no-contact order after repeatedly calling the woman from the Stearns County Jail.
Diaz also entered an Alford plea on the charge of 1st-degree assault for firing shots at a police officer. An Alford plea is where a defendant maintains they're innocent of the crime, but admits the prosecution has enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Officers were called to the 7100 block of Northwood Lane in St. Cloud for a domestic assault in the fall of 2016. Police say when they arrived and rang the doorbell Diaz jumped out a back window armed with a handgun and tried to flee. Court records show Diaz fired at least three rounds at police before a Stearns County Deputy shot Diaz at least twice in the leg. He was taken to St. Cloud Hospital for his injuries before being taken to the Stearns County Jail.
Diaz was also charged with assaulting his girlfriend at a north St. Cloud hotel in a different incident and cutting her with a knife. Court records show a hotel employee saw the woman bleeding and helped her escape Diaz as they were entering an elevator to leave.
Diaz will argue for 18 years in prison while prosecutors will ask a judge to sentence Diaz to 20 years behind bars. He has previous convictions domestic violence and assault convictions dating back to 2011.