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Father and son charged over threats, weapons haul found in Vadnais Heights

The family intends to sue over infringement of their rights.
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What's happening?

The father of the 13-year-old boy found home alone with a cache of weapons and ammunition in Vadnais Heights last week has been charged with weapons offenses.

Chris Stowe, 41, was arrested along with his wife after police searched their home on Friday, which followed their son making a threat to another student at The Academy for Sciences and Agriculture.

The Ramsey County Attorney says their son has been charged with threats of violence and appears in juvenile court on Monday.

What are the charges?

Stowe has been charged with counts of possession of a machine gun and a short-barreled shotgun. He's also been charged with leaving a loaded gun unsecured in a place where a child could access it.

According to the criminal complaint, Stowe's son told a classmate "he was going to kill him and that he had a list of students he was going to kill."

When the boy was suspended and told he'd be removed from class that day, he said: "Hide in the closet when I come back, because I will start shooting then."

When they later executed a search warrant at the Stowe home, officers found "a significant number" of guns, accessories, ammunition and two possible explosive devices that were removed for further inspection.

The complaint continues:

Law enforcement officers also recovered several trigger kits hidden in the ceiling of the residence. They appeared to be conversion kits for converting weapons to automatic weapons. Deputies also discovered literature on how to convert a semi-automatic weapon to a fully automatic weapon."

When inspected by ATF agents, one of the guns metal the "legal definition for a machine gun," and the other for a short-barreled shotgun.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office says the investigation into Stowe's wife has been returned to the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office for possible charges by the Vadnais Heights City Attorney.

Family plans to sue

Stowe's father, Mark Stowe, called the Pioneer Press this weekend and told them the family is intending to sue authorities after claiming his family is in jail "because of an overzealous sheriff."

He says his family's civil liberties have been violated. He also told the Star Tribune his grandson has autism and had no plan on carrying out the threat.

The guns are legal and mostly heirlooms "from the family's long military history," he added, saying his family are NRA members, concealed-carry certified and all-around "good Christians."

Ramsey County Sheriff Jack Serier however said the discovery meant a "potential tragedy" was averted.

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