DENVER – A 20-year-old man accused of plotting to kill President Barack Obama during a visit to Colorado appeared in federal court Tuesday.
Mitchell Kusick is also accused of planning to shoot children in Westminster during a Halloween event at Standley Lake High School.
The federal criminal complaint against him alleges Kusick’s plan was two-fold.
First, there are allegations Kusick planned to open fire at a trick or treat event at Standley Lake High School on Halloween.
A Secret Service agent wrote the complaint which says he stole a rifle out of his aunt and uncle’s home in Westminster which he allegedly planned to use.
Federal investigators say he told them he had been homicidal for years, saying he was obsessed with the Columbine High School massacre and the recent kidnap and murder of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway in Westminster.
"Kusick stated he is very interested in snipers and has studied the James Holmes Aurora
shooting," the complaint says. "Kusick admitted to following the incident and stated his mother is in the mental health field and was a first responder to the scene."
To gain the infamy he allegedly wanted, he planned to carry out the mass shooting against children at the high school.
Authorities also say he told them he had detailed plans to kill the president. The criminal complaint says Kusick talked to investigators about the President’s schedule and planned to carry out the assassination during Obama’s campaign stop in Boulder Nov. 1.
The plans unraveled because Kusick allegedly revealed much of this to a therapist he was seeing. In the days after he took the rifle from his relatives, they made him return it.
The relatives were with him when he went to the therapist’s office and allegedly made the disclosures.
The 20-year-old was put on a 72-hour mental health hold at a hospital. That's where he was when Obama made his campaign appearance at CU. Authorities have interviewed him a number of times.
The Secret Service took Kusick into custody Friday, Nov 9.
We’ve also learned Jefferson County Schools sought a restraining order against Kusick earlier this month.
The restraining order was filed on November 9, nine days after Kusick was charged with interference with a school for a “credible threat” against Standley Lake High School in Westminster.
Jefferson County Schools released a statement late Tuesday afternoon:
“Working with law enforcement, Jeffco Schools learned of a man who was allegedly threatening students at Standley Lake High School’s Trick or Treat Street event. Police acted quickly to take the man into custody before the event. At no time were children attending the event in any danger from the suspect because he was already in police custody. We appreciate the swift response from law enforcement and Jeffco district security which helped keep our students safe.”
Neighbors, Family Surprised
Less than two hours after news broke of 20-year-old Mitch Kusick's arrest, his family refused to answer reporters questions about the multiple federal charges he's expected to face.
"It's completely surprising, nothing I would have anticipated," said Tony Brooks of Westminster. On Tuesday, neighbors told FOX31 Denver that the incident came without warning and that even in the days prior to Kusick's arrest nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
"They're very well respected family, they wave to you...they're good neighbors," added Brooks.
Friends of the Kusick's family expressed concerns for the suspect's privacy and mental health after learning of the plot investigators announced involved high school students and President Obama.
"Just leave it alone, we don't need to go into their private life." said other neighbors when asked about the family's history.
FOX 31 Denver has learned Mitch also had a younger brother who neighbors also described as a typical suburban teenager.