Former Benson student charged for threats, Gymnasium evacuated during tournament
BENSON - A former Benson High School student is charged with a single, felony count of terroristic threats-reckless disregard or threat- for allegedly posting statements and video on social media that led law officers to evacuate the high school gymnasium during a basketball tournament on Friday.
Alexander Forsberg, 22, of Moorhead, was arraigned in district court in Benson on the charge Monday. He was released on his own recognizance on conditions that he not consume alcohol or drugs, have no contact with those he allegedly threatened, and not possess any firearms.
The Benson Police Department evacuated the Benson High School gymnasium during a boy's basketball tournament after being alerted by High School Principal Michael Knutson that Forsberg had posted threatening messages and videos on Snapchat. Forsberg allegedly stated that he was coming to Benson "with multiple people to shoot people at the school.''
He also stated that he was coming and bringing the "mafia'' to Benson, and would reply to everyone as soon as he got to the b-ball game, an apparent reference to the tournament.
The criminal complaint alleges that Forsberg threatened to murder a former teacher "and his whole family" if he says a word to him. "I got 4 guys in the army that'll beat the dust out of him,'' the complaint quotes him as stating.
The teacher had kicked Forsberg off school grounds last year when he had no reason to be there, according to the complaint. It was also known that the teacher intended to attend the tournament.
Forsberg also issued threats against law officers and the courts, said he would "murder'' another individual and "sacrifice" two others. "He will hang them like the Klu Klux Klan.''
The complaint lists a tirade of video and messages in which he allegedly threatened to "merc" or perpetuate violence, kill a former school resource officer in North Dakota, and "put a Glock in your face." The video and messaging also included a threat to "murder every person in Benson before Christmas is even done" and a statement: "When I walk in that gym you better know who I am.''
After being informed of the threats, law officers learned that Forsberg lived in Moorhead and that his vehicle was headed in the direction of Benson. He was located and taken into custody in Grant County by the Benson Police Department with the assistance of the Minnesota State Patrol and Grant County Sheriff's Department.
Interviewed at the Swift County Jail, Forsberg allegedly said he should be at the basketball game. He said he did not have a Glock and never threatened to shoot anyone at the game. Asked by Benson Police Chief Ian Hodge if anything he said could be construed as a threat, Forsberg allegedly responded: "I'm sure it could. Have you seen how many Snapchats I've posted. I don't always remember what I say, cause I'm always trying to say something real.''
Court records show that Forsberg has prior, convictions for marijuana possession in Swift, Kandiyohi, Wright and Chisago counties. He is seen in a Snapshot video holding what appears to be a large quantity of marijuana, according to the complaint.