Chad Olson, a 51-year-old resident of Fertile, a small town in western Minnesota, was arrested last week and charged with attempted murder.
Olson told police he was merely trying to save himself from terrorism, according to the criminal complaint filed against him by the Polk County Attorney's office. Based on what Olson's accused of, it's more accurate to say he was not preventing terrorism, but engaged in it.
Earlier this month, a pilot flying a small Cessna airplane was in the Fertile area when he heard a "twang" noise, Forum News reports. It wasn't until the next day he spotted a bullet hole in the body of the plane. The pilot estimated the bullet did $20,000 in damage to the plane; obviously, it could have been much worse.
Two days after the shooting, police spoke with a man who said he was present "at [Chad] Olson's property" on the day in question, and saw him shoot his .30-06 rifle into the air as a plane flew above him. This same person informed police he had witnessed Olson shooting at planes four other times this year, and that Olson had told him of three other instances when he'd done it.
Why this man decided to wait for Olson's eighth (!) alleged plane-shooting before telling the cops is unclear.
When investigators located and interviewed Olson, he told them he'd been shooting at the planes because he believed they were "engaged in terrorism." This explanation did not satisfy police, and Olson was arrested.
He faces charges of second-degree attempted murder, which has a maximum sentence of 20 years, plus one charge of second-degree assault, and two of criminal property damage.
According to Minnesota's court records, Olson has virtually no known criminal history: a single charge for driving without a seatbelt, in 2015, for which he was convicted.
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