Arkansas State suspect charged for terroristic threats, bringing gun onto campus

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JONESBORO, Ark. -- The first court appearance for the man accused of loading his pickup truck with a shotgun, gasoline and propane and driving onto a plaza at Arkansas State University, prompting a campuswide lockdown, is set for Friday afternoon.

Brad Kenneth Bartelt was being held Friday for the Thursday incident, in which students and staff were ordered to evacuate the student union. Jonesboro police spokesman Paul Holmes said additional charges are likely.

Bartelt was charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threatening, criminal possession of explosives and possession of a gun on school property.

Bartelt appeared via video link from the Craighead County jail before a judge, who set his bond at $50,000. Holmes said he did not know whether Bartelt had an attorney.

His bond could change after a mental evaluation.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Bartelt said he was suicidal and homicidal. For his protection, he was dressed in a suicide vest in court Friday.

An affidavit says Bartlet told police he was "seeing demons in the woods" around his house. He said he tried to photograph them but he couldn't.

He also listed off psychiatric medicine and painkillers he’d been taking.

Bartelt, 47, of Jonesboro, had a 12-gauge shotgun and containers of gasoline and propane with him when he drove his truck onto a plaza east of the student union, Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott said.

When Bartelt first arrived on the campus, he called 911, saying he was on campus with a weapon and gas. He said he didn't want to hurt others and requested police to the scene.

Jonesboro Police spokesman Paul Holmes released a recording of the call.

 

University spokesman Bill Smith said the man, once a student at a remote campus, was taken into custody about an hour after the incident began.

Campus police chief Randy Martin said Bartelt had formerly attended classes at Arkansas State's Newport campus, 45 miles away.

In his Facebook post Wednesday, Bartelt had complained about a recent decision in a Social Security case, police said.

Bartelt said he was angry over the way he was treated after being critically injured while undergoing a commercial driving program at ASU-Newport in 2012.

The school confirmed he was run over by another trainee and had to be airlifted to Memphis.

They said he reached a $750,000 settlement with the school’s insurance, with a quarter of that going to pay medical bills.

The school said it never had any other contact with Bartelt, despite him claiming that as a motive for his actions in Jonesboro on Thursday.

Despite waving a gun around ASU students, Bartlet told police he decided murder wasn’t right, and while appearing over a video monitor in court Friday, he told a judge the only person he really wanted to hurt was himself.

Elliott said at a Thursday news conference that Bartelt never pointed a weapon toward officers.

"He was pointing the gun at himself. He wanted to do harm to himself," Elliott said.

The chief said that, when he arrived, Bartelt was sitting in the truck with his foot out the window and the shotgun visible, yelling something inaudible.

He said from "time-to-time" Bartelt would get out of the truck and slosh gasoline on the truck or hold the shotgun to his chin. Bartelt eventually threw the shotgun down and surrendered, Elliott said.

While going through Bartelt's home, his girlfriend was arrested.

Police said Connie Hampton is a felon and she was in a home with several guns, which violates her probation. Her bond was set at $2,500.

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