Joseph Mark Rongstad (Image courtesy Chippewa County)

A former mayor of Watson, northwest of Montevideo, is charged with making threats to kill students, sparking an alert on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus on Jan. 10 and 11. Joseph Mark Rongstad, 41, made threatening posts on a Facebook page.

According to the criminal complaint Ronson also threatened the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department and several judges. The posts prompted multiple schools in Chippewa, Yellow Medicine and Renville counties to go into lockdown.

A SWAT team went to Rongstad’s home. He allegedly told them he was never going to leave his house and head to the University of Minnesota. He stated he didn’t intend to killanyone, he wanted to get law enforcement’s attention.

Court records show that Rongstad was civilly committed for six months as mentally ill and chemically dependent. Rongstad made his first court appearance on Jan. 18 and is scheduled back in court on Feb. 14. He remains in custody at the Chippewa County Jail.