State Rep. Tom Hackbarth is not out of the woods yet. He faces possible criminal charges for inconsistencies in his story about why he was recently in a Planned Parenthood parking lot with a gun after hours.
Hackbarth was stopped and handcuffed by police in the parking lot of a St. Paul Planned Parented in mid-November after he was spotted with a gun in his waistband. Hackbarth, who has a conceal and carry permit, said he wasn’t familiar with the area and didn’t know where he was.
He told police he was looking for a woman he met online who lived in the area and said she had a prior engagement that night and couldn’t meet Hackbarth. He suspected she was with another man, and planned to walk around the block and look for her car.
While Hackbarth was not arrested or charged initially, the House GOP caucus reacted swiftly to the news. House Speaker Kurt Zellers suspended him from his recently announced Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee chairmanship until “the issue is fully resolved.”
In the latest development, an unknown caller to the St. Paul Police said there are inconsistencies in his story. According to a KSTP report, a tip caller told police that Hackbarth gave a fake name for the woman he was searching for, and the woman he is actually seeing works at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
Hackbarth was contacted by police, who questioned him about the woman’s identity. Hackbarth said he knew the woman at the Ag Department, but he was not looking for her the evening he was stopped by police. However, police found that the woman from the Ag Department only lives a few blocks away from the Planned Parenthood site where he was detained.
Hackbarth issued a statement apologizing to his family, friends, the caucus and his constituents. He voluntarily resigned from the chairmanship.