An 18-year-old Northland Pines High School student is facing two felony and three misdemeanor charges in Vilas County Circuit Court after another student allegedly overheard him talking to other students about wanting to "shoot up the school on the last day."
Christopher M. Berber was charged May 15 with making terrorist threats, a class I felony, making a threat to a law enforcement officer, a class H felony, along with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, possession of THC and possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to the criminal complaint, a student reported that they had overheard Berber talking with two other students about attacking the school.
"We should shoot up the school on the last day," the witness claimed Berber told other students in a cafeteria conversation. "There would be no security and all we would have to do is shoot Deputy Neff in the head."
Deputy Neff is school resource officer Eric Neff.
When questioned by Neff and the dean of students, the witness claimed Berber said "anyone who wanted to join in would be allowed and we could get more people that way."
While not confirming the exact words said, another student who was in the cafeteria at the time said "the person doing most of the talking" was Berber and they heard the group talking about "guns" and "heard the word shootings."
When a search warrant was executed on Berber's home, investigators found a large quantity of "realistic looking BB pistols, BB rifles and BB ammunition" along with an inoperable .22 caliber rifle and ammunition. In addition, the deputies found numerous items of drug paraphernalia and marijuana seeds in both his residence and car.
According to court records, Berber made an appearance before Judge Neal Nielsen on May 11 for a bail bond hearing. Cash bond was set at $2,000 with conditions that Berber not be on any Northland Pines school property, have no contact with three individuals, nor any district officials, teachers or administrators. He also may not leave his house with any weapons, toy, real, BB or air soft.
Berber was back in court on Monday at which time Nielsen lowered the cash bond to $500 and modified it to allow contact with school officials if they initiate the contact for academic or disciplinary reasons.
Berber is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on June 1.
If convicted of the terrorist threat charge, he faces up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 while the other felony charge carries a 3.5-year prison and $10,000 maximum sentence upon conviction.
Jamie Taylor may be reached at email@example.com.
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