WATSON — A 41-year-old man is in custody after he allegedly made a threat to shoot multiple people on the campus of the University of Minnesota. Joseph Rongstad surrendered to Chippewa County law enforcement after a standoff at a home in Watson Thursday. A SWAT team in an armored vehicle used a ram to pop out windows and break down a door of the home in Watson before Rongstad surrendered. Rongstad is accused of making threats on social media Wednesday night into Thursday morning to shoot students on the U of M campus, saying “kids will die for real.”  

Joseph Rongstad posted this image of the SWAT team at his residence to his business Facebook page.

Jake Fiscus, Rongstad’s neighbor for the last two years, says, “From the time that I’ve known him, he’s been nothing but nice. He cameover and helped clear the snow out of my driveway a few times when it was getting built up.” That being said, Fiscus adds, “I do think that he should essentially have to answer to his crimes today (Thurs) but at the same time the most important thing is he needs help and everything — I think there is going to be a fine line between finding both.” 

Among the reasons authorities had to take the threats so seriously is that police have had many run-ins with Rongstad before. Charges are pending but he’s being held for probable cause of making violent threats.