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UPDATE: Duluth Police: School threat suspect found in locked cooler due to lockdown procedure

DULUTH, MN — In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, police provided more details as to what led them on a manhunt for a suspect, whose comments prompted a full lockdown at Duluth East High School last week.

The suspect, 35-year-old Travis Busch, allegedly made a series of threats to a third party via text messages before his arrest at the high school Friday.

Police say that person then alerted authorities, and the search was on.

The challenge, say police, is the threats weren’t specific to any one school.

Police call it a dynamic situation with a lot of twists and turns.

After receiving the tip, with no specific school mentioned, police thought the best plan was to get an officer at all 30 school buildings in Duluth.

But through pinging Busch’s cell phone to get a location, they tracked him to an area near Duluth East High School and narrowed their search.

East went into full lockdown mode, which is why police say they eventually located Busch in a cold storage locker inside the high school.

Police and district officials say Busch was there, acting as a job coach with a disabled adult who works in the high school’s cafeteria as a dishwasher.

Officials say Busch was not employed by the school.

After his arrest, police searched Busch’s vehicle and found a 3-57 pistol with a round in the chamber.

A search of his home that evening uncovered several other weapons.

Police say this was a significant threat and praise the person who tipped them off.

“Somebody was on the other end of the phone getting those complaints and they were moved enough to say, somebody’s going to be put in harm’s way, so I got to reach out to police,” Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken said. “We’re very thankful they did, and, as a result — this was a significant threat, no question about it, and we treated it — we as is both police and ISD 709 — as such.”

Chief Tusken says they’re proud of their response and used every tool in their tool belt to find Busch within an hour of the initial tip, but he says they could have better communication among all schools going forward.

The department will be performing an after action review, and they’re inviting all Duluth school officials to weigh in.

According to Chief Tusken, police were familiar with the suspect and his family, but without going into any detail. Tusken added it wasn’t necessarily in a negative way.

You can watch the full news conference below.

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2:40 p.m. — Duluth Police say the timeline of the incident caused by a threat toward a Duluth school lasted eight hours from the initial squads arriving on scene to the closing of the case last week.

According to Duluth police, squads arrived at East High School at 1:06 p.m., and once they arrived, they were able to get a second phone ping off of the phone belonging to the suspect, Travis Busch.

At 1:08 p.m., police say they were able to get information of where Busch should be in school, and made contact with Busch at 1:10 p.m.

Shortly after, at 1:25 p.m., police say schools throughout the public school district began to end their lockdowns, except for Duluth East.

At 1:27, squads and officers at other schools around the district cleared the scene, with East High School ending their lockdown at 1:36 p.m.

Police say a search warrant was executed at Busch’s home from 6:01 – 8:15 p.m., and they closed the case at 8:16 p.m.

The full news conference can be watched above.

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DULUTH, MN — Duluth Police will be speaking about the threat made towards Duluth Public Schools last week during a news conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Officials are expected to speak about the response, a timeline of events, and after action review.

Travis Busch, 35, was arrested for his alleged connection to the event at Duluth East High School, which had been put on a full lockdown.

Busch has been charged with threats of violence and possession of machine gun conversion kit.

CBS 3 Duluth will provide a stream of the conference.

Check back for updates.

Krystal Frasier

Social Media and Digital Content Manager

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