A former employee of Hubbard Broadcasting in St. Paul has been charged with making threats of violence, allegedly referencing the mass shooting at a Maryland newspaper that left five people dead on June 28.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County, 37-year-old Rusty Gene Arntson of Brooklyn Center made multiple disturbing comments in a phone call with Hubbard Broadcasting's director of security.
The security director for Hubbard Broadcasting, which owns KSTP-TV, initiated the call with Arntson after learning that the former employee was on the company's campus making unsettling comments. Arntson, who had been fired in 2017 for an alleged confrontation with a female co-worker, told a current Hubbard worker that women are like black widow spiders, then added: "I won't kill you because you're a man."
The frightening comment was made June 21. On June 25, the security director left a message asking to speak with Arntson, who returned the call on June 29.
It was during that call that Arntson became emotional, repeatedly demanding he get his job back, and at one point saying: "You know what happened yesterday in Maryland." He told the security director that he expects to get his job back and then ended the call.
Arntson was referring to the mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, where five staff members were murdered by a disgruntled man on June 28.
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Police arrested Arntson, who denied any intention to carry out a malicious attack against Hubbard Broadcasting, instead claiming that he used the Capital Gazette shooting as a warning that employees who are treated poorly could come back to hurt them.
He added that he is a Christian and won't hurt anyone because he would burn in hell for it.
The sergeant who interviewed Arntson noted that he made other "bizarre statements," including one where he claimed the FBI and Department of Justice are involved in his dispute with Hubbard Broadcasting over unemployment insurance.
Arntson has a permit to carry a firearm out of Hennepin County, the complaint notes.
If convicted, Arntson faces up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.