A 19-year-old Hibbing man has been charged with six felonies in connection with a road rage incident which started at the Grand Rapids High School Monday afternoon.
According to a statement from Itasca County Attorney Jack Muhar, Seth Matthew James Nelson made an appearance in Itasca County District Court Tuesday afternoon. Nelson has been charged with one count of felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of second degree assault, two counts of terroristic threats and one count of possession of a dangerous weapon on school property, all felonies.
Bail was set for Nelson at $100,000 without conditions or $50,000 with conditions including keeping all court appearances, remain in contact with his attorney, no use of alcohol or drugs, submit to random testing, no firearms and no contact with the victims.
According to the criminal complaint, a report of threats was received by a Grand Rapids police officer around 12:45 p.m. on Monday. The two males making the complaint told the officer that as they were leaving Grand Rapids High School, they nearly got into a crash with another vehicle. They left the parking lot and noticed the same vehicle behind them as they headed southbound on Highway 38.
They told authorities the vehicle, driven by a male, passed them at a high rate of speed, the complaint said. They stopped in the left-hand turn lane at Fourth Street Northwest and Highway 38 and saw the other driver was in the right lane. They said Nelson rolled his window down and started to talk to them.
The complaint said the males told authorities that Nelson was upset and said he would shoot them three times. Nelson started to make a right turn onto Fourth Street Northwest and raised a handgun with his right hand.
An attempt to locate the suspect vehicle was sent out to area law enforcement, according to Grand Rapids Police Chief Jim Denny. He said around 3 p.m., officers located and stopped the suspect vehicle on 14th Street Northwest, near the high school. A search warrant was executed on the vehicle where officers found a .22 caliber handgun and the 19-year-old male suspect was taken into custody.
“No shots were fired,” said Denny, adding that the suspect is not currently a student at the high school.
The complaint stated a loaded .22 caliber pistol was found in the center console of the car and .22 caliber ammunition was found in a backpack on the back seat.
Nelson told authorities that a female passenger with him at the time of the incident was not involved, the complaint said. Nelson also told authorities he would not discuss his involvement in the incident.
According to the complaint, the female passenger told investigators that Nelson and the occupants of the other vehicle were arguing at the stoplight and she did not recall seeing Nelson with a gun. She told Nelson to calm down. She also told investigators that Nelson had a handgun in the backpack about a week ago.
The complaint stated that Nelson was adjudicated delinquent for felony third degree burglary in March 2010 and adjudicated delinquent for felony unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in January 2011. Records indicated he violated his probation on the offenses multiple times.
Grand Rapids High School administration sent out an instant alert Monday evening to parents addressing the incident.
“The Grand Rapids Police Department and the Grand Rapids High School administration worked together to maintain the safety of our school grounds and our school,” the alert from Jim Smokrovich, Grand Rapids High School principal, read in part. “There was never an immediate danger to our school due to the intervention of our city police department and the efforts of my staff. As a result of this incident an individual that is not a student at Grand Rapids High School was arrested and is currently in custody.”
As of press time, Nelson was in custody at the Itasca County Jail. His next court appearance is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Monday, March 31.