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Court documents show Grand Forks hospital employee had 'hit list' of co-workers

New court documents in the case of a former Altru Hospital employee who's accused of making death threats against four current employees allege that he had a history of aggression toward women he worked with.

The Grand Forks hospital's petition for a restraining order against Gale Malke says he was terminated in 2009 because of "multiple instances of intimidating, threatening, hostile and disruptive behavior toward his female co-workers."

Those instances included telling co-workers he had a "hit list" with several female co-workers on it, the petition says.

During the last incident before he was fired, Malke would not leave the work area of a female co-worker and blocked her from getting away, according to the petition.

An Altru employee who considered Malke a friend reportedly met with him Jan. 4 at a Grand Forks bar. During their conversation, Malke told him "the people at Altru had ruined him and his career," and that he was going to go to Altru and kill four specific employees, according to the petition.

"I hope you're not there when I come through or you better duck," Malke allegedly told the man.

Believing Malke was serious, the man told his supervisor at Altru about the threat on Jan. 11, and the hospital made a report to police the same day.

Jan. 12, the day Malke was charged with terrorizing, he called the man he met at the bar and reportedly asked, "Why did you turn me in for making terroristic threats?"

Jan. 13, Malke was arrested in Altru's parking lot. Authorities said he had no weapons with him at the time.

Altru's petition asks that Malke have no contact with the man he met at the bar and the four employees he allegedly threatened to kill. Of those four, two are women.

The restraining order Altru sought against Malke was granted Wednesday. It forbids him from having contact with the hospital or its employees. He must not come within 100 feet of the hospital unless he has a medical emergency, the order says.

Malke's attorney, Steven Light, has told the Herald his client made no threats. "I think that this is completely blown out of proportion," Light said. "I think it was nothing more than idle conversation."

Light did not know why Malke drove to Altru on Jan. 13 but said Malke was within his rights in doing so.

Malke, 64, of Grand Forks, is out on $5,000 bail. As a condition of his release, he was ordered to surrender any weapons he has.

His preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 4. If convicted, he would face a maximum prison sentence of five years.

Altru would not answer questions about the case, including what Malke's job title was and how long he worked there. Messages left for Light and Grand Forks County prosecutor Carmell Mattison, who is assigned to the case, were not returned Wednesday.