Maplewood man charged after allegedly pointing gun at gym manager over mask dispute
A Maplewood man faces an assault charge after he allegedly pointed a gun at a gym manager over whether members at the facility were adhering to the mask mandate.
According to the criminal complaint, 64-year-old Michael Florhaug has been charged with one count of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. His initial court appearance on Tuesday resulted in bail set at $50,000. He will return for an omnibus hearing on Feb. 18.
The complaint states that on Dec. 31, 2020 at about 5:30 p.m., Florhaug went to the LA Fitness located on the 1900 block of County Road D in Maplewood to personally monitor whether members were complying with the state-mandated mask requirement for gyms. It was noted that he does not belong to the gym.
Florhaug spoke to an employee at the front desk in an "aggressive and angry" manner about gym members not wearing masks. Eventually, a manager spoke to Florhaug. The complaint says the manager attempted to explain that staff cannot be everywhere in the gym to enforce the mandate, suggesting that Florhaug was welcome to pay an employee out of his own pocket to enforce the mask rules in the back area of the gym. The 64-year-old then yelled at the manager, calling him "dumb." After the manager told Florhaug he could not enter the gym, Florhaug said he was going to walk around the gym and "take pictures of people," later saying his intention was to get the business in trouble. The gym has a sign posted that prohibits photography inside the premises without the consent of the individuals inside, according to the complaint.
The manager of the gym then put his hands up to stop Florhaug from further entering the gym, in which Florhaug said "Oh yeah?" and proceeded to pull out and point a SIG Sauer 9 mm handgun at the manager. A member of the gym confirmed to police that Florhaug did not "flash" the gun, but "completely removed it from his pocket and point it" at the manager. The complaint notes that Florhaug has an active permit to carry a firearm.
Florhaug then attempted to proceed into the gym, but the manager tackled Florhaug from behind, according to the complaint. The manager disarmed Florhaug, removing the magazine from the handgun. He later told police he believed Florhaug was going to fire the weapon at members who didn’t have masks on.
After speaking with police, Florhaug denied any of the information given by the manager or witness, saying he only "flashed a gun" and that the manager was "aggressive and in his face."