Grand Forks man who allegedly threatened a mass shooting set to remain in custody

A gavel with books behind it.

A Fargo judge ordered a Grand Forks man accused of threatening to commit a mass shooting to remain in custody before his trial later this summer.

Alice Senechal, a federal magistrate judge, decided on Friday that Steven Lindblad, 59, should not be allowed to stay at his home before he stands trial for allegedly telling a cell phone carrier’s customer service representative last year that he had explosive materials and was going to commit a mass shooting.

A grand jury indicted Lindblad on June 17 for “interstate communication of a threat to injure persons” and “false information and hoax,” and he was arrested on June 24. Publicly available court records for the case reveal little beyond that.

Jacob Rodenbiker, an assistant United States attorney, rattled off a series of threats Lindblad allegedly made to others over the past 20-plus years. Lindblad’s criminal history in North Dakota extends back to 1999 and is mostly comprised of misdemeanors. He was sentenced to probation and a year of electronic home monitoring after a 2006 conviction for terrorizing.

That pattern, Rodenbiker argued, “tips the scales” in favor of detention.


“I can’t help but notice the charges for the indictment weren’t referenced,” Ward Johnson, Lindblad’s attorney, said ruefully. “I think if Steve had guns and explosives we would know about that.”

Johnson, who said he’s known Lindblad for years and represented him before, said his client wouldn’t win a “man of the year” award, but that he’s been in similar circumstances before and did not violate the conditions of previous pretrial releases.

“He never went anywhere,” Johnson said, noting that Lindblad has a dog that will either be adopted away or put to sleep if Lindblad stays in jail.

No recording apparently exists of Lindblad making the alleged threats that got him indicted, but Rodenbiker said Lindblad has admitted he made them.

Lindblad’s trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 11. After Senechal ruled Lindblad should stay in custody at least until then, Johnson said a third party who’d been paying for his services in Lindblad’s case had stopped doing so and that he’d no longer represent the man.

Joe Bowen is an award-winning reporter at the Duluth News Tribune. He covers schools and education across the Northland.

You can reach him at:
What To Read Next
Get Local