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Brad Bartelt Friday initially was charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threat, unlawful possession of explosive material, and carrying a firearm in a publically owned facility.
He appeared Friday before a Craighead County Circuit Court Judge via a video from the Craighead County Jail. Bartelt told the court, “I never meant to hurt anyone but myself.”
The judged ordered that Bartelt undergo mental evaluation. He set bond at $50,000 but did not appoint a public defender. The prosecutor has not yet been appointed.
Bartelt drove his pickup truck through a barrier at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, and ASU police were on the scene within two minutes. Jonesboro Police, Craighead County Sheriff’s deputies, Arkansas State Police and the FBI soon appeared on the scene.
The student union was evacuated, final exams scheduled for that afternoon were postponed, and the whole campus was placed on lockdown for the rest of the day.
Bartelt held the shotgun, at times to his throat, and doused himself and the truck with gasoline. There was a 100 lb. propane tank in the bed of the truck.
He made no threats to police, ASU staff or students.
Members of the Jonesboro Police SWAT team talked to him and convinced thim to drop the shotgun and surrender.
No shots were fired, and no one was injured.
When Bartelt arrived on campus he called 911 he asked that police be notified but said he didn’t know what building he was near.
Jonesboro police acknowledged that Bartelt had placed a suicidal note on Facebook. When police arrived at his house Wednesday they were told he was seeking help, and they left.
Bartelt had never been a student at ASU-Jonesboro, but he had been a truck driving student at ASU-Newport. He was injured when struck by a semi there and has complained of problems with the school, their insurance company and Social Security.
Bartelt’s estranged wife has told reporters he became a different man after the accident, and she left him with her son at that time.
The ASU administration, Board of Trustees, and the governor have praised the university for their readiness for such an incident.
Update: Second Judicial District Prosecutor Scott Ellington Thursday, Jan.7, announced the filing of formal charges against Brad Bartelt. Bartelt now is charged with making a terroristic threat, criminal possession of explosive material or destructive device, and terroristic threatening.
In a statement issued Thursday Ellington said, “I appreciate the immediate response by the Arkansas State University Campus Police, the Jonesboro Police Department, and the other state and local agencies who responded to this very serious incident. Their prompt action in this matter saved those on the campus possible death or serious injury.”