School threat leads deputies to stockpile of weapons

Chris Stowe

Lisa Stowe

A boy’s threats against his classmates at a Maplewood school led police to a weapons cache at his home, resulting in the arrest of his parents.

Christopher Stowe, 41, was charged with two felony counts of unlawful firearm possession March 5. 

He and his wife, Lisa Stowe, 40, were both charged with gross misdemeanor negligent storage of a firearm in the presence of a child at their Vadnais Heights home. 

The home was searched March 2 by the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, revealing “a significant number of firearms,” including an illegal machine gun and short-barreled shotgun, according to court documents.

The search happened after the Stowes’ 13-year-old son was removed from school at the Academy of Science and Agriculture Maplewood campus the previous day for telling another student he was going to kill him, as well as a list of other students, court documents said.

As the boy was removed by school officials, he reportedly told classmates “hide in the closet when I come back because I will start shooting then.”

Deputies arrived at the school, took the 13-year-old boy into custody and brought him home. He was charged with threats of violence and appeared in juvenile court March 5. 

Christopher’s two felony counts of illegal weapons possession each carry a maximum penalty of five years, a $10,000 fine or both. The maximum penalty for negligent storage of a firearm within access of a child is one year, a $3,000 fine or both. 

After they were charged, Christopher was released on bail; Lisa was released without bail.

According to court documents, alongside the cache of firearms in the Stowes’ home deputies found ammunition, firearm parts, trigger kits and literature for converting semiautomatic weapons to fully automatic hidden in the ceiling, along with possible explosive devices.

Police reported seeing several firearms “loaded and located out in the open and accessible to children,” and pointed out that the boy was home alone when they arrived to execute the search warrant, court documents said.

The St. Paul Bomb Squad took away possible explosives and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents determined one gun to match the legal definition of a machine gun, and another to meet the standard of a short-barrelled, or sawed-off shotgun, both in violation of state statute.

Christopher’s next appearance in Ramsey County court is March 13. The boy appeared back in juvenile court March 9. 


— Solomon Gustavo

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