Jason Johnson charged in Coffman Union incident


Jason Robert Johnson, 35, was charged with possession of an explosive or incendiary device, with intent to damage property or cause injury, and terroristic threats, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

According to the criminal complaint, officers responded to a call after 11pm on August 9 about a suspicious bag that smelled of gasoline, which was found near a fireplace at Coffman Memorial Union, on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.

The bomb squad analyzed the bag and discovered that it contained bundled smoke flairs, towels soaks in gasoline, gloves and a lighter.

A thorough search of the building was conducted. The University of Minnesota Police, Airport Police, Minneapolis Police Department, Hennepin County Sherriff’s Office, Metro Transit Police, State Patrol, Minneapolis Fire Department and St. Paul Police Department were all involved. The FBI and ATF were also advised of the situation.

During a review of surveillance video footage, officers learned that the suspect left the bag near the fireplace shortly before noon on August 9. Still photos taken from the video were viewed on August 10 by a police officer who had prior contact with Johnson. Police contacted Johnson by phone and he made suicidal comments. Johnson was located and safely taken into custody.

Johnson is being held on $100,000 bail and will make his first court appearance Thursday.

Criminal complaint (PDF)