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Charges: Fired city employee planned to shoot Minneapolis co-workers

The man worked for Minneapolis Public Water Works Treatment and Distribution Service.
Michael Samuel Butler

Michael Samuel Butler

After being fired for failing to show up to work three days in a row, a Minneapolis man planned to return to Minneapolis Public Water Works Treatment and Distribution Service to shoot and kill his former co-workers, according to charges filed Monday in Ramsey County District Court 

Michael S. Butler, 48, of Minneapolis has been charged with making threats of violence with no regard to risk, a felony punishable up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. 

According to a criminal complaint, police located Butler at Regions Hospital in St. Paul after he checked himself in after going on a "3-day drug binge smoking crack and doing amphetamines." 

While at the hospital, Butler allegedly said he planned to shoot employees at the City of Minneapolis water facility, also claiming to have left a duffle bag filled with two Glock handguns and several magazines of ammunition near his former place of work. 

Police used a K-9 to search the Water Works location but did not find any weapons. When a sergeant interviewed Butler at the hospital, Butler refused to cooperate and said "no one is going to find it," referring to the bag of guns and ammo. 

Butler admitted to becoming disgruntled after co-workers made false allegations to supervisors about him, which he felt led to his firing. That led to the three-day drug binge, with the complaint saying Butler "needed the drugs to give himself the courage to follow through with his plan."

His plan, according to the complaint, was to shoot employees and then himself so he wouldn't be arrested again. 

The guns Butler claimed to hide near his former workplace have not been found, the complaint notes. 

Butler is in custody in the Hennepin County Jail. 

Minneapolis City Coordinator Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde provided a statement to the Pioneer Press

“The safety and security of all city employees and visitors to our buildings is our top priority. The city plans to continue to expand security trainings for employees, review security measures at city properties and develop additional tools and trainings to help supervisors and staff address mental health issues.”

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