A 19-year-old Lolo man pleaded guilty Thursday to posting a threat on Facebook to shoot at a school in Gillette, Wyo.
Erik Sven Wengren said in court Thursday that he’d been joking, adding that “it was a terrible choice of words.”
Wengren is accused of making the threat on Dec. 20 – just six days after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and six adults.
Police in Gillette alerted the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office to the posting. At the time, law enforcement in Missoula also were busy tracking down a rash of rumors – which turned out to be unfounded – about possible violence in Missoula schools.
In a barely audible voice, Wengren explained to Justice of the Peace Karen Orzech that his comments came in response to a Facebook posting about school shootings by a cousin who lives in Gillette.
“Jokingly, I said, ‘I’m gonna come shoot at your school,’ ” Wengren said.
He was charged with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 10 days in jail and/or a $100 fine.
Deputy County Attorney Jason Marks said Thursday he’ll seek jail time for Wengren. However, he asked that sentencing be postponed until next month so that a sentence could be tailored to the situation.
Orzech suggested that “a load of community service” may be part of the penalty when Wengren is sentenced Jan. 9.
Reporter Gwen Florio can be reached at 523-5268, email@example.com or @CopsAndCourts.com.