Charges say man fooled intruder into lowering gun

Published 9:30 am Monday, November 18, 2013

SANDSTONE — A 75-year-old Sandstone man pretended to be blind and hard of hearing to fool an armed intruder into lowering his gun, court papers say. The intruder ended up dead and another suspect is facing prison time.

Charles Carlson told authorities he was sleeping on his porch when he awoke to noises in his farmhouse early Thursday. He went to his kitchen and ended up with a gun pointed at his head.

Carlson knew the man’s gun was loaded, “as he could see the rounds in each chamber of the cylinder,” according to charges filed Friday. So Carlson pretended to be blind and hard of hearing. The intruder lowered his weapon for a moment — long enough for Carlson to grab his own loaded handgun. Carlson shot Gypsy Wayne Watts, 23, twice during the ensuing confrontation, the charges say. Watts died at the scene.

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“It was an unfortunate thing that happened,” Carlson said.

Pine County authorities charged a 16-year-old alleged accomplice in juvenile court with three counts of first-degree burglary Friday. The charges allege that the intruders were after drugs and money.

Authorities contend that the 16-year-old was at a party when he told Watts about a man he knew only as “Carlson,” who the teen believed would have cash and drugs. The pair, both wearing latex gloves, found Carlson’s wallet in a bedroom and swiped a $100 bill before Carlson woke up.

Carlson told the newspaper he works with the 16-year-old’s father and “treated the kid good all his life.” He declined to talk in detail about what happened, saying his attorney had advised him against giving statements.

His voice softened as he added, “The whole deal is saddening.”

Investigators will forward evidence to prosecutors to see if the shooting qualifies under a Minnesota law that allows a person to use deadly force in his or her home in some circumstances. Pine County Chief Deputy Steven Blackwell said Thursday that investigators had found no indications of wrongdoing on Carlson’s part.

Watts, a Sandstone resident, had convictions in Pine County and North Dakota, Blackwell said. Watts was convicted in Minnesota of carrying a pistol without a permit, among other charges. In 2009, he pleaded guilty in North Dakota to robbery and burglary, records show.