A 40-year-old St. Paul College student, angry at not finding a class on the first day of instruction, posted threats on social media about having a shotgun and shooting two staff members, according to charges.
Paul J. Moulton of St. Paul was charged Wednesday with threats of violence, a felony. He was arrested Tuesday and made his first court appearance Thursday afternoon.
This was Moulton's second time attending a community college in the Twin Cities. He said he transferred from Hennepin County Technical College, the criminal complaint read, because he felt one of his instructors was being condescending and demeaning, and "was going to ambush him."
According to the prosecution:
On Monday, Moulton wrote on Facebook a vulgar and threatening message saying his schedule did not correctly list the location of a class. A school staff member saw the post and directed him to the advising center for help
Moulton soon followed up with a second profane posting that said in part: "It's taking just about everything I have not to grab my shotgun and shoot two [expletives] in the face. ... The universe just doesn't want me to be a ... CNC [computer numeric controlled] machinist."
The second message prompted the same staffer to notify school officials about Moulton's threat.
Police caught up with Moulton on Tuesday, when he returned to the advising center. They seized a folding knife and brass knuckles from him. They searched his car and found no weapons.
Two women in the advising center said Moulton complained about not being alerted to a classroom location change. The notification went to Moulton's school e-mail, which he did not realize he had.
Moulton told investigators he felt insulted when one of the women in the advising center asked him whether he was sure he had the right classroom. He said he felt she was inferring that he could not read.
He acknowledged to the investigators that his posting was stupid but said it was taking "everything he's got not to snap and 'go postal,' " the complaint read.
Moulton said he keeps a shotgun at his girlfriend's home. Police went there and retrieved it.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482