Charges: Man who threatened shooting at Duluth school compared self to Vegas shooter

Schools throughout Duluth went into lock down on Friday, April 5.
Publish date:
travis john anthony warner busch

A man charged with threatening a school shooting in Duluth compared himself to the shooter who killed 58 people in Las Vegas in October 2017. 

The alarming details are described in a criminal complaint against 35-year-old Travis John Anthony Warner Busch, of Duluth, who has been charged in St. Louis County District Court with felony counts of making terroristic threats and possession of a machine gun conversion kit. 

According to charging documents, police were alerted to the threats from Busch at approximately 12:11 p.m. on Friday. Schools citywide went into soft lockdown while Duluth East High School went into a full lockdown once police learned that Busch was inside the school, where he worked as a job coach supervising a student in the school's cafeteria. 

Police arrived at East High School with weapons drawn and arrested Busch without incident after finding him locked inside a cold storage room in the cafeteria. Busch was not armed, but a search of his vehicle turned up a .357 pistol that was cocked and loaded with with a hollow point round in the chamber. 

The criminal complaint quotes messages sent from Busch to the person who alerted police to the threats. Busch is quoted as saying: 

  • "Don't do that I will murder every cop at my door." 
  • "I can get in with a few machine guns, kill the one officer first and go to town."
  • "Oh by the way this is hypothetical." 
  • "If the cops come they will die through the door." 
  • "Just pretend you didn't hear, I am going to do what I do." 
  • "There are no innocent." 

The complaint also reveals that Busch referred to a previous school shooter as "my hero." It adds that Busch compared his "capabilities to the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas" during a music festival, when 58 people were killed and hundreds others injured. 

Furthermore, Busch is quoted as saying he had "lots of plans" and could padlock shut a movie theater and shoot people like "fish in a barrel," in addition to threatening a shooting at the high school. 

"I'm at school and I don't' know what I am going to do. I seem to still lack the fortitude to take this gun out and start shooting," Busch is quoted as saying in a message. 

A later search of Busch's home revealed numerous firearms, including a loaded 8mm Mauser bolt-action rifle, a pump-style Remington rifle, a loaded Beretta handgun, a Ruger with a scope and banana-style magazine along with equipment that could've allowed him to turn it into a fully automatic weapon.  

"Today we had a call which was cause for great concern. A man was threatening to do a shooting at a school of unspecified location," said Duluth Chief of Police Mike Tusken in a release to the public following the incident.

"DPD worked in earnest to locate the suspect and arrested him at East High School after 59 minutes from the initial report to 911. All staff was mobilized to go to every public, private and parochial school in the city and we learned the suspect was likely in the east side of the city and resources were shifted."

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