Man Sentenced for Threats Against Duluth East

Updated: September 23, 2019 07:37 PM

The man accused of making threats against Duluth East High School will not have to serve prison time if he abides by terms of probation. Travis John Anthony Warner Busch, 36, faced a judge on Monday morning, and heard his fate.

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Judge Theresa Neo refused to grant the stay of imposition, which Busch's attorney had argued for. That would have let his conviction revert to a misdemeanor if he completed probation successfully.

The state guidelines for this felony called for a presumptive stayed sentence, according to Neo. That means the guidelines don't call for additional jail time. She stayed Busch's prison sentence for five years of probation, with terms that include being banned from schools. He also is forbidden from owning firearms and ammunition. And he got credit for the 132 days he's already served in jail.

"I know you're genuinely remorseful," Neo said. She added, "The messages you sent are disturbing. And the number and types of guns you had are haunting. I've thought about this case a lot."

Busch was arrested last April. He had been working as a job coach, supervising a student in the school.

Police received a tip that he had made a series of threats "related to engaging in gun fire with law enforcement."  The comments were made to his sister. 

Busch was arrested after officers searched his vehicle and found a compact .357 pistol, which was cocked with one round in the chamber, inside a boot in the trunk. He also admitted to owning a machine gun conversion kit.

Duluth schools were put into soft lockdown until Busch was arrested. East was on full lockdown as well.

Busch pleaded guilty in July to both threats of violence and possession of a machine gun conversion kit.  He apologized in court Monday, saying, "I am so embarrassed and so sorry."

His attorney, Rebecca Shaw, referenced that he had stopped taking his medication, and that lead to a downward spiral and a suicide attempt. She said his texts were a cry for help. Shaw added, "He committed this offense because he was not property medicated and not thinking rationally."

Prosecutor Korey Horn said that the possession of the conversion kit give context to the threats. And that Busch also threatened to commit a mass shooting at a movie theater.

Busch has been accepted into mental health court.

Principal Danette Seboe read a victim impact statement, outlying the intensity and terror of that day. "I'm so thankful no one was hurt. But many were harmed." She added that students were texting their parents good-bye messages.


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