Unstable Metro State student in psych ward

  • Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 1, 2013 - 9:44 PM

The 53-year-old man has a pending commitment hearing in St. Paul.

Authorities are trying to commit a psychotic 53-year-old student who threatened Metro State University and school staff in St. Paul, going so far as to reference mass shootings in Colorado and Europe, according to court documents.

Michael E. Cousland is confined at Regions Hospital, with a trial set for Thursday over a petition for involuntary commitment and forced antipsychotic medications, electroconvulsive therapy or both, say papers filed in Ramsey County District Court.

Cousland has been suicidal and previously claimed he has an AK-47 assault rifle, according to search-warrant documents made public Monday. From his apartment at on Raymond Avenue, St. Paul police recovered a large, empty rifle case and empty magazine pouches.

St. Paul police are investigating and trying to determine whether the gun and ammunition exist, and if so, where they could be, said Howie Padilla, a department spokesman.

On March 26, the Ramsey County attorney’s office filed a mental illness and chemical dependency commitment petition against Cousland. His latest mental health exam indicated psychosis and bipolar personality disorder.

He had a sixth-month commitment in 1996, records show.

According to the search-warrant application, staff at Metro State University, 700 E. 7th Street, were frightened of Cousland “and his increasingly bizarre behavior.”

Staff members had called police on March 19, saying that he was going to be expelled from the school “because of his instability and threats.” At least one of those threats allegedly came in an e-mail to the school. They wanted to have him kept out as a trespasser.

Police records show multiple calls regarding Cousland’s bizarre, suicidal behavior.

 

Joy Powell • 651-925-5038

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