Man who made threats to kill the President and children at a school Halloween event sought 'infamy'
Affidavit: Man wanted to watch 'World Burn Down'
Last Updated: 387 days ago
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. - A 20-year-old Westminster man has been arrested after telling his therapist on Oct. 29 that he planned to kill school children the next day at a Halloween event for children at Standley Lake High School and he wanted to "go down in history as the 'guy who killed (President) Obama,'" according to federal criminal complaint.
Mitchell Kenneth Kusick "wanted to commit the shootings so he could go down in 'infamy,'" according to a Westminster police report cited in the complaint. He said he was planning to assassinate President Barack Obama during an upcoming campaign visit, which authorities suspected was a Nov. 1 Obama rally at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Kusick told the therapist that he'd had homicidal fantasies for five or six years and he had "tried to figure out how to kill the most people" at Broomfield High School, where he'd gone to school. He even obtained blueprints for the school, according to the complaint -- or arrest affidavit -- filed by the U.S. Secret Service on Nov. 9 in Denver federal court.
"Kusick described that he had tried to find a 'kill zone' on the blueprints, where he could produce the highest levels of fatalities," the complaint said.
Kusick said he was obsessed with bombs and studying how to build them on the Internet. He was also fascinated by the mass shootings at the Aurora movie theater, Columbine High School, the Virginia Tech and the Jessica Ridgeway abduction.
Kusick: I 'Want To Watch The World Burn Down'
"Some people just want to watch the world burn down, and I'm one of them," Kusick told his therapist, according to the complaint.
"Kusick said that he had trained in how to shoot an assault rifle at a firing range in Grand Junction," where he attended Colorado Mesa University.
Kusick's plan for a mass killing went nowhere, in part because in April his parents discovered he had two guns -- a .308-caliber sniper rifle and a .22-caliber rifle -- and he was forced to sell them, the complaint said.
Then, on Oct. 28, Kusick argued with his parents when they confronted him about why he had withdrawn a large amount of money from his savings account, the complaint said.
Fights With Parents, Steals Shotgun
"As he was arguing with his parents, Kusick informed them that he was OK with homicide," the complaint said.
His father ordered him out of the house. Then Kusick physically struggled his mother over the cash, and he shoved her to the floor. His father tried to block the door, but Kusick pushed him out of the way and left the home, the complaint said.
Kusick then stole a shotgun from the home of his aunt and uncle. But when he tried to buy ammunition at Walmart a clerk refused to sell it to him, the complaint said. The next day, his aunt told Kusick to return the shotgun and he did.
His aunt and uncle then took Kusick to meet with his therapist, who -- after learning of Kusick's violent thoughts -- had him admitted to Lutheran Medical Center, where he was placed on a 72-hour mental health hold. The therapist also informed law enforcement officials about Kusick's statements, the complaint said.
The Westminster Police Department told the Secret Service about the threat.
At the hospital, Kusick was interviewed by Westminster Police Officer Stephanie Hard with his parents present.
Halloween Attack Would Have 'Biggest Impact'
Kusick said, "He planned on killing children on Halloween because he was looking for somewhere there would be a lot of people and he could have the biggest impact," the complaint said. "He planned on taking the shotgun and 'spraying' people," and he hoped to engage in a gunfight with arriving police officers.
"Kusick said that he did not believe he would feel any remorse for killing children (and) …. he believed he would have no problem killing strangers," the complaint said.
Kusick even admitted he had "plans in his head " to kill his friend, "Matt," because his friend had weapons, the affidavit said. "Kusick said that he did not have remorse at the thought of killing his friend, because he needed to kill Matt to get supplies."
Mom Was First-Responder At Aurora Theater Shooting
On Oct. 30, two Secret Service agents interviewed Kusick at the hospital.
"Kusick stated he is very interested in snipers and has studied the James Holmes Aurora (movie theater) shooting. Kusick admitted to following the incident and stated his mother is in the mental health field and was a first-responder to the scene," the complaint said.
"He elaborated on what Holmes did wrong (in the attack) and how he would have done it differently," the complaint said.
Kusick said, "I share an understanding of (Holmes') situation," according to the complaint.
In Therapy Since 11 Years Old
Kusick told the agents he had been in counseling since he was about 11 years old and was currently prescribed the anti-depression medication Prozac.
Along with his homicidal fantasies, Kusick said he has had suicidal thoughts in the past, the complaint said.
Kusick told the agents he didn't think about who he would attack, just his desire to "inflict damage," the complaint said.
When the agents asked Kusick why he wanted to assassinate the president, he replied that he had used the president as an example and that he meant any political figure, the affidavit said.
"Kusick claimed he doesn't have a problem with President Obama and believes he has done a good job with the hand he was dealt," the complaint said.
Yet, under further questioning, Kusick acknowledged that he occasionally looks at the White House website to see where the president will be visiting and he follows politics.
When agents asked how he feels about political assassinations, Kusick said, he felt they had a "great deal of significance and major impact," adding that "it changes the course of a nation," the complaint said. Kusick said he reads books and online about snipers, assassinations and the military.
Kusick told his therapist he "wanted to join the military so that he could have 'carte blanche' to kill people," according to the complaint said.
The young man told Secret Service agents about recent events that had angered him.
Upset By Speeding Ticket, Barred From Seeing Girlfriend
"Kusick mentioned he was very upset because he had recently received a speeding ticket. He harbored animosity toward the police officer," the complaint said.
"He was also upset at his uncle for keeping him apart from his girlfriend, a foreign exchange student who lives in their home," an agent wrote in the complaint.
Kusick said he had dreamed of attending West Point Military Academy. But he did not receive the required congressional nomination and was very upset about that.
Kusick didn't seem to grasp the trouble he now faces with the law.
He Wants To Go Skiing
He said told Secret Service agents "when he is released from the hospital, he wants to head to the mountains and go skiing. He mentioned taking a break from school."
Kusick told the agents he never revealed any of his homicidal thoughts to his parents.
"He believes they are shocked and he wishes he never told his therapist what he was thinking," the complaint said.
Advised Of Charges In Federal Court
Kusick appeared in U.S. District Court in Denver on Tuesday afternoon, where a judge advised that he faces a charge of threatening to kill or injure the president. He is being held without bond, pending a detention hearing scheduled for Friday, said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver.
A conviction on the charge carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison.
Arrested For Alleged Threats Against Students At Halloween Event
Kusic was formally arrested by Westminster police on Nov. 8 on a charge for allegedly making threats against elementary and middle school students attending the Oct. 30 Trick or Treat Street event at Standley Lake High School event, according to court records and a Jefferson County Public Schools official.
The formal misdemeanor charge is interference with a school -- credible threat.
"Working with law enforcement, Jeffco Schools learned of a man who was allegedly threatening students at Standley Lake High School’s Trick or Treat Street event," Jefferson County Public Schools spokeswoman Melissa Reeves said in a statement.
"Police acted quickly to take the man into custody before the event. At no time were children attending the event in any danger from the suspect because he was already in police custody. We appreciate the swift response from law enforcement and Jeffco district security which helped keep our students safe," Reeves said.
Jefferson County Public Schools obtained a restraining order against Kusick on Nov. 9, the day after he was arrested.
Timeline in Case
April - Kusick's parents make him sell his guns after they discover he had two weapons.
Oct. 28 - Kusick argues with parents after he withdrew large amount of cash. He allegedly fights with his mother, goes to his uncle and aunt's home, steals a rifle. He tries to buy ammunition at Walmart but is denied.
Oct. 29 - Kusick ordered to return rifle. Aunt and uncle take him to his therapist. He allegedly told his therapist that he wanted to shoot kids at Halloween event and to kill the president. He's placed in hospital for at least 3 days. At the hospital, he's interviewed by Westminster police and Secret Service.
Oct. 30 - Halloween event at Standley Lake High School
Nov. 1 - Obama rally at CU Boulder
Nov. 8 - Kusick formally arrested by Westminster police for alleged threats against school
Nov. 9 - Jeffco Schools obtains restraining order against Kusick. Secret Service files arrest affidavit on Kusick.
Nov. 13 - Kusick appears in federal court.
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