Obama threat ends in arrest
A 20-year-old Colorado Mesa University student who said he wanted to go down in history as the person who killed President Barack Obama is in federal custody in Denver.
Mitchell Kusick, of Westminster, told police he had trained how to shoot an assault rifle at a firing range in Grand Junction and said he had plans to shoot schoolchildren on Halloween at Standley Lake High School, according to federal court records.
Kusick told authorities he’s taking online courses at CMU and has a full academic scholarship to the school. He’s listed in the school’s online directory.
“Kusick said that he is obsessed with the Columbine shootings, Virginia Tech shootings, and the Jessica Ridgeway abduction,” a federal arrest affidavit reads. “Kusick also said that he has been trying to keep track of President Obama’s visits to the Denver Metro Area.”
Kusick was arrested Friday in the Denver area and formally advised Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Denver. He’s being held without bond pending a detention hearing Friday in Denver.
The U.S. Secret Service received information about the alleged threats on Oct. 30 from the Westminster Police Department.
Kusick called his therapist on Oct. 29, and left a voice message saying he was in crisis and needed to talk, the affidavit. The therapist said they held a counseling session that same day, when Kusick explained he had recently fought with his parents and withdrawn a large amount of money from his savings account. He told the therapist he’d been kicked out of his father’s home.
“Kusick said that he went over to his aunt and uncle’s house, took one of their guns and hid it inside their home,” the affidavit said. “Kusick said he then went to Walmart and tried to purchase ammunition, but the Walmart would not sell to him.”
Kusick told the therapist he planned on using the gun to kill children at the high school, adding he’d “continue shooting children and hopefully draw police officers into a gun fight. Kusick said he has had homicidal fantasies on a daily basis for the past five or six years.”
“Kusick said that he wanted to go down in history as the ‘guy who killed Obama,’ ” the affidavit said.
He explained he’d trained how to shoot an assault rifle at a firing range in Grand Junction, and that he’d previously owned a .22 caliber rifle and an assault rifle, “but his parents had made him get rid of the firearms.”
He said he was “obsessed” with learning how to build bombs, the affidavit said.
“Kusick said that ‘some people just want to watch the world burn down, and I’m one of them,” the affidavit said.
He said he’d obtained blueprints for his high school, where he wanted to carry out a mass killing.
The therapist reported Kusick’s disclosures to law enforcement, while Kusick was placed into custody and on a 72-hour mental health hold at Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge. Kusick was interviewed at the hospital on Oct. 30 by Westminster police.
The affidavit said he’d been planning on killing people for five to six years.
“He said that he spends time making plans on how he will do it, what supplies he will need and how to execute his plans,” the affidavit.
Asked about Obama, Kusick said he was interested in fame and attention from such an act, while acknowledging he’d been researching Obama’s schedule and making plans, the affidavit said.
“He said he knew the tickets for President Obama’s speaking events go on sale two weeks prior,” the affidavit said. “Kusick said he wouldn’t use a bolt action shotgun to shoot the president. He said he would probably take one shot and then be ready to take fire. He said he would want to have some handguns to return fire because it would be hard to get away with a shotgun.”
A Secret Service agent also went to Lutheran Medical Center on Oct. 30 and interviewed Kusick.
The affidavit suggests Kusick tried to back off the threats to Obama, insisting he wanted to target a “political figure,” the affidavit said.
“Kusick claimed he doesn’t have a problem with President Obama and believes he had done a good job with the hand he was dealt,” the affidavit said. “Kusick claimed he is not affiliated with any political party and is registered as an independent voter for this election.”
Kusick acknowledged checking the White House’s website to see the president’s schedule, but insisted he’d never visited a Secret Service-protected location or otherwise tried to gather intelligence for an attack.
Asked about assassinations, “he stated he felt they had a ‘great deal of significance and major impacts.’ He elaborated by saying “it changes the course of a nation.”
Kusick said he reads books about snipers, assassinations and the military, adding he researches those same topics online.
Kusick told the agent he’d been in counseling for eight to nine years and is prescribed Prozac, but insisted he never heard voices or experienced hallucinations. He said he had suicidal thoughts.
He said he dreamed of attending West Point and was “very upset” when he didn’t get a congressional nomination.
“Kusick stated when he is released from the hospital, he wanted to head to the mountains and go skiing,” the affidavit said.