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Charge: Man threatened to burn Gov. Walz in St. Paul body storage warehouse

The 51-year-old Blaine man has been charged with making threats of violence, a felony.

After publicly endorsing Minnesota's 5th District Rep. Ilhan Omar on July 31, Gov. Tim Walz received a death threat from a Blaine man who has now been charged with making threats of violence. 

The felony charge against Shawn P. Simonson, 51, was filed in Ramsey County District Court on Thursday, with the criminal complaint noting that Simonson said he made the threat when he "wasn't thinking straight." 

Simonson's death threat towards the governor was made via a voicemail he placed just after 3 p.m. on Aug. 2. According to a transcription of the message detailed in the charging document, Simonson began the message saying "So you just endorsed Omar?"

He continued: "Let me tell you something about that six million dollar building you bought, that refrigerated building that you bought that is standing empty. Your (expletive) dead body is going to be the only body in that building. We’re gonna put your dead body in that building and then we’re gonna burn it down." 

Simonson was referring to the warehouse in St. Paul that the state was proposing to buy for $6.9 million, with the building set to serve as a storage facility for bodies during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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In a media briefing in May, state officials said that because of social distancing, families who lose loved ones for a myriad of reasons haven't been able to hold proper memorials and funerals. That, coupled with increasing deaths from COVID-19, had led to medical facilities running out of room for bodies. 

A state trooper was able to contact Simonson, who admitted to leaving the message and "feeling sick" about it while claiming that he is "no threat" and that he needs to work on his anger management. 

Simonson also said he was "frustrated about the virus and the riots." 

The trooper who contacted Simonson noted that Simonson made similar threats in April. 

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