Threat on Facebook leads to man’s arrest, police say

21-year-old did not have gun; Officers posted at schools as precaution
Threat on Facebook leads to man’s arrest, police say
Dakota J. Berndt, 21

Police said a 21-year-old Reedsburg man was arrested Wednesday after he said online he was going to shoot at a school.

Reedsburg Police Chief Timothy Becker said Dakota Berndt posted a threat to shoot up an elementary school on his Facebook page. The post was removed within one hour of its posting.

“I am going to break and shoot up an elementary school.,” Berndt wrote in a Facebook post.

Police said officers arrested Berndt at his home at about 10 p.m. Berndt did not have any firearms in the home.

On its Facebook page Wednesday night, the Reedsburg Police Department said the threat was “not credible however the individual will still be charged and held responsible for his actions.”

Berndt was charged with disorderly conduct and taken to the Sauk County Jail. He was released on signature bond just after 11 p.m.

“Taking in consideration of the interview that we did with him and the surrounding that he was in, he had no weapons available to him at the time,” Becker said. “He wasn’t able to identify any school that he had a grudge against; he basically said that he was blowing off steam.”

Police said additional charges are pending.

As a precaution, Reedsburg police had officers stationed at all six elementary schools in the Reedsburg School District.

Reedsburg School District Superintendent Tom Benson said the district decided not to put the schools on lockdown because the situation was under control, and he added that the situation was taken seriously.

Despite the beefed-up police presence, parents were still uneasy about the threats. Many parents decided to keep their children home, including Amanda Anderson, a Reedsburg resident, who kept her daughter home from kindergarten.

“I kept my children home to keep myself calm during the day. I know the police have everything under control, but it just makes me feel better to know that they’re home,” Anderson saidop

Berndt did tell police he wanted to write a letter of apology to concerned parents.

“He was very apologetic. He was surprised at the impact he had made with that one post, so it’s education for everybody out there who is posting stuff on Facebook or any type of social media — how long this stuff lasts and how many people can actually see it and what happens because of it,” Becker said.