Many charges were brought against a student at a private university in southeast Minnesota on Monday after investigators discovered several items in his dorm room that school administrators feared presented a threat. The items included knives, a tactical vest, and empty ammo and magazine boxes.
The Rice County Attorney’s Office claims the kid was “planning a mass casualty act,” so they want to make sure he doesn’t have access to any firearms, even at his Vermont home, when his mother posts bail.
Waylon Kurts, a 20-year-old student at St. Olaf College, was charged with many felonies, including conspiracy to commit second-degree assault and conspiracy to commit threats of violence. Kurts is a runner on the St. Olaf College track team and a sophomore from Montpelier.
A tactical vest, empty ammo and magazine boxes, a tactical knife, a folding knife, firearm earmuffs, six propane canisters, pyrotechnics, lighter fluid, a battery with cables, and a lock pick set were allegedly discovered in Kurts’ dorm room, leading to the charges against him.
The district attorney’s office reports that no guns have been located at this time. A hand-drawn plan of the campus recreation center and a notebook detailing a plot to steal ammo from a merchant were also purportedly seized by the police.
According to the accusations, an arrow on the map pointed to a possible escape route. A lawyer for Kurts, Paul Rogosheske, reportedly told the Star Tribune that his client “has some things that appear strange,” but that there is nothing there that may be dangerous.
Rogosheske stated that his client is an avid hunter who regularly shoots, and he noted that neither Kurts’ room nor vehicle had been searched for firearms or ammo. He said that someone other than Kurts drew the map.
“This is a conspiracy charge. There was no gun or ammunition found. We will let the process play out and, in the end, my client will be vindicated,” Rogosheske said.
Chief of Police for Northfield, Minnesota, Mark Elliott, has stated that they are investigating Kurts’ motives. However, according to County Attorney Kathryn M. Burbank, information recovered from Kurts’ dorm room implies he was not acting alone in plotting a mass casualty incident, and that he was intending to target the Skoglund-Tostrud building, a campus recreation facility.
Burbank has expressed concern that Kurts’ Vermont house is armed with weapons, including an assault rifle, and has urged the court to order the family to relinquish them. On Wednesday, a custodian at St. Olaf saw two empty packages of high-capacity magazines in the trash and reported them to the school’s administration.
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After reporting things “related to potential acts of violence” discovered in the student’s dorm room, the college notified the Northfield Police Department. The news report states that after an interview with school administrators, Kurts was suspended from St. Olaf and asked to leave the Northfield campus.
The youngster was taken into custody on Thursday for allegedly making threats of physical harm. In a letter to parents, St. Olaf administrators assured them that the campus was safe at the time. Northfield police are being helped in their investigation by agents from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
The criminal complaint alleges that Kurts texted someone about purchasing firearms from unlicensed vendors, in addition to the things found in his room and vehicle. In another text, Kurts joked, “Kids’ got no idea what’s in here, hehe,” while showing a picture of a package containing rifle magazines sitting on a campus bench.
The accusation alleges that Kurts had written “fighting is faster and closer than you believe” and “the typical door takes 2.5 kicks” in notes recovered in his car. The training notes also detailed the optimal shooting locations, which included the upper thoracic region, the T-zone of the face, and the pelvis.
The Star Tribune claimed that Kurts’ family assured Northfield police that he was not armed and was not carrying out the shooting incident in Minnesota. A Burnsville gun store and range reported that Kurts had been there “many times to shoot.”
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