DENVER (Reuters) - A Colorado man was charged on Tuesday in federal court with threatening to kill U.S. President Barack Obama during an October campaign visit, and court documents showed that he told investigators that he has had daily homicidal fantasies for years.
Mitchell Kusick, 20, was ordered held on a charge of making threats against the president pending a bond hearing in U.S. District Court in Denver on Friday.
A U.S. Secret Service affidavit unsealed on Tuesday also showed that Kusick, who was arrested on Friday, “made credible threats and took steps” toward shooting and killing children at a trick-or-treat Halloween event sponsored by a Denver-area high school.
“Kusick made statements about a desire to kill people on Halloween and that he had been tracking President Obama’s schedule so he can assassinate the President,” said the affidavit by Secret Service Agent Melissa Blake.
Kusick apparently detailed his plans to his mental-health therapist, who admitted him to a hospital and reported the threats to police. Secret Service agents and police then interviewed Kusick in the hospital, and he admitted to having daily “homicidal fantasies” for five or six years.
Kusick told agents he was obsessed with high-profile Colorado crimes, including the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, the July suburban Denver movie theater rampage, and the murder and dismemberment of a 10-year-old local schoolgirl.
Kusick, who said he was a student at Colorado Mesa University, told authorities he wanted to go down in history as the “guy who killed Obama,” although he thought the president was doing a good job, the affidavit said.
He said nothing in court except, “Yes, sir,” and “Yes, your honor,” when a magistrate judge asked him if he understood the charge against him and his rights.
Authorities said that Kusick told them he stole a gun from his aunt and uncle, but was unable to buy ammunition for the weapon at a Walmart.
Kusick has not yet been charged in state court for the Halloween threats, but he faces a maximum five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted on the federal charge.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Colorado said Kusick had been in custody since his arrest on Friday. The case was under seal until after he appeared in court on Tuesday.
The Jefferson County School District said in a statement that police had acted quickly, and that the children who attended the Halloween event were not in any danger because the man was in custody at the time - on a 72-hour mental health hold at a local hospital after disclosing these plans to his mental health therapist, according to the affidavit.
Additional reporting by Robert Boczkiewicz; Editing by Mary Slosson, Cynthia Johnston and Mohammad Zargham