MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: Waseca teen accused in school shooting plot
WASECA, Minn. -- A Waseca teenager is accused of plotting a massacre at his school that police say was only weeks away from being carried out when he was arrested 17-year-old John LaDue was charged yesterday, and police allege he had seven bombs, bomb making material, several guns and ammunition, and a pressure cooker to use in the attack. Waseca Police Captain Kris Markeson says a concerned citizen called 9-1-1 after seeing a suspicious person near a storage shed. Markeson says when officers arrived at the storage shed LaDue was still there. During a police interview LaDue revealed his plan was to kill his family members, start a diversionary fire in rural Waseca to distract first responders and travel to the Waseca Junior Senior High School. According to the criminal complaint, LaDue told police he had originally planned to carry out the plot on April 20th to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings, but couldn't do it then because it was Easter Sunday and instead was hoping to carry it out his plan in the next couple of weeks. A journal indicates LaDue idolized the Columbine gunmen. LaDue was charged Thursday with four counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree damage to property and six counts of possession of a bomb by someone under 18.
Authorities have released the identity of a man whose body was discovered in a Virginia home earlier this week. According to the Virginia Police Department, a resident found the body of Harley Jacka late Tuesday afternoon. Upon arrival investigators say they determined that the 29 year-old's death was suspicious in nature. A subsequent autopsy conducted by the St. Louis County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed those findings, concluding that Jacka died as a result of homicidal violence. The F-B-I, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, St. Louis County Sheriff's Office, St. Louis County Attorney's Office and Eveleth Police are all assisting Virginia with the investigation.
A New Ulm man is facing 15 years in prison after a jury in federal court found him guilty of possessing stolen firearms and stolen ammunition Buck Otto White who also goes by Timothy Hoffman was found guilty on four charges including being a felon in possession of a firearms and ammunition. A February 2013 search warrant turned up stolen property in a leased storage unit in Courtland and the basement of his house in New Ulm. During those searches authorities recovered stolen firearms and ammunition, sporting equipment and other stolen property. According to the indictment, White had previously been convicted of multiple crimes, including several violent felonies and at least one drug offense, making him an armed career criminal.
Six people were injured after a minivan crashed into a St. Paul bar shortly after midnight Friday morning. State Troopers were attempting to make a traffic stop when the driver of the minivan kept going on Interstate 94. A chase began and eventually ended in St. Paul when the driver crashed into The Bulldog bar. Five people inside the bar and the driver of the minivan were taken to area hospitals with non life threatening injuries.
Two competing medical marijuana proposals have hearings at the State Capitol today (Fri). Senator Scott Dibble's bill that allows smoking of medical marijuana has its fourth hearing this morning (830am). That measure's future is questionable because law enforcement and Governor Dayton both oppose it. This afternoon, there's a hearing on a compromise House leaders floated just yesterday (Thurs) for clinical trials, "vaping" but no smoking of medical marijuana, and one state-controlled source instead of dispensaries. Sponsor, Hibbing Democrat Carly Melin contends her bill recognizes political realities and would get something done this session to help families in greatest need of medical marijuana. But Heather Azzi with Minnesotans for Compassionate Care says the proposal would require state workers, clinical investigators and doctors to violate federal law -- and for that reason no patients would ever be helped.
Medical marijuana was on the agenda Thursday as about two dozen law enforcement officers met in Moorhead. They discussed a new House proposal that creates clinical trials for Minnesotans with severe illness and does not allow smoking. Moorhead Police Chief Dave Ebinger believes there is room for compromise. He says it's wrong to just make it wide open, but also wrong to not allow any movement toward medical marijuana. Ebinger says law enforcement's biggest concern is the "loose distribution of smokable marijuana." The Senate version of the bill would allow patients to smoke cannabis.
220 soldiers from across the state report to Camp Ripley in Little Falls today for pre-deployment training. Lieutenant Holly Elkin, spokeswoman for the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, says they'll be preparing for a one-year mobilization in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Kuwait. Elkin says the soldiers represent 43 communities around the state. She says the average age of the deploying Minnesota soldiers is 33 and they range in age from 19 to 57.
A Minnesota lawmaker has fired off a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, blasting his proposal that would create an Internet "fast lane." Senator Al Franken warns it's a misguided approach that would allow deep-pocket corporations to hijack equal access to the web. Franken argues the track record has shown that keeping Internet speeds equal for all users maintains a level playing field. He says YouTube excelled because it's what consumers preferred -- while preferred "pay-to-play" access would shut out small business and stifle innovation.
A Sleepy Eye man is hoping his invention will attract lots of attention at today's Inventors Congress expo in Minneapolis. Mike Suess invented the "Powerizer", a small tool box that serves as a rechargeable resource center. Suess says you can charge multiple devices at one time and store some while they are charging inside the storage compartment. He says LED lights on the top can be used to light up the room during a power outage at home, or for tent camping and ice fishing. The Minnesota Inventors Congress attracts people from all across the country. The Invention Expo 2014 runs today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center.