NATIONAL NEWS

Minnesota college student charged after cache found in dorm

Apr 10, 2023, 5:20 PM | Updated: Apr 11, 2023, 2:24 pm

NORTHFIELD, Minn. (AP) — A student at a private southeastern Minnesota college faces multiple counts after authorities found several items in his dorm room that school officials believed posed a threat — including knives, a tactical vest and empty ammunition and magazine boxes — according to charges filed Monday.

St. Olaf College student Waylon Kurts, 20, was charged with conspiracy to commit second-degree assault and conspiracy to commit threats of violence, among other counts.

According to the charges, the items found in Kurts’ dorm room included a tactical vest, empty boxes for ammunition and magazines, a tactical knife, a folding knife, firearm earmuffs, six propane canisters, fireworks, lighter fluid, a battery with wires and a lock pick set.

Police also confiscated notebooks with writings that included a plot to steal ammunition from a retailer, police radio frequencies and a hand-drawn map of the recreational facility on campus, the Star Tribune reported. The map include an arrow indicating a travel route and apparent exit path, the charges said.

Kurts’ attorney, Paul Rogosheske, said Kurts “has some things that look funny,” but said there is nothing that poses a threat to anyone, the Star Tribune reported. Rogosheske said his client is a hunter who shoots a lot, and noted there were no guns or ammunition taken from Kurts’ room or vehicle. He said Kurts drew the map for someone else.

Northfield Police Chief Mark Elliott said authorities are trying to determine what, if anything, Kurts had in mind.

St. Olaf officials say they became suspicious of Kurts on last week, when a custodian saw two empty packages for high-capacity magazines in a garbage can.

Kurts is a sophomore from Montpelier, Vermont, and a member of the college’s track team. He was arrested Thursday and suspended from the private school in Northfield.

In addition to the items found in Kurts’ room and vehicle, the criminal complaint says a search of his phone showed he texted someone about buying guns from unlicensed sellers. Kurts also texted photos of a box filled with rifle magazines on a campus bench and the words, “Kids’ve got no idea whats in here, haha.”

Notes found in Kurts’ vehicle allegedly said “combat is much faster and closer than you think” and “the average door takes 2.5 kicks,” according to the complaint. Notes also contained training directions for where to shoot a person on their body.

Kurts’ family told Northfield police that all his guns were in their Vermont home and he wasn’t shooting in Minnesota, the Star Tribune reported. A shooting range and gun shop in Burnsville told police that Kurts had visited “several times to shoot.”

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Minnesota college student charged after cache found in dorm