A 43-year-old U.S. Postal Service worker pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to firing a weapon into the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank building during a downtown fireworks display in July.
Christopher Douglas Wood of St. Paul entered a guilty plea just two weeks after being charged with one count of possessing a firearm in a federal facility while committing a crime. He was first arrested on state charges in August, one month after firing three shotgun blasts at the Reserve building across the street. He was perched at his parking spot in the Minneapolis Central Post Office parking ramp at 100 1st St. S. after his shift ended on July 21.
The investigation led police to discover anti-government literature at Wood's St. Paul apartment, including references to the "End the Fed" movement and counterfeit bills with the likeness of former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.
On Monday, Chief U.S. District Judge John Tunheim ordered Wood to pay $40,242 in restitution to the Reserve bank in connection with damages caused to the building's facade. According to a state criminal complaint, Wood fired into the building while hundreds of pedestrians watched the Aquatennial fireworks display nearby.
Tunheim scheduled an April 16 sentencing for Wood; sentencing guidelines call for 10 to 16 months in prison followed by 1 to 3 years' supervised release. Wood and his attorney declined to comment after Monday's hearing. Wood has since been released from jail. He spoke little during Monday's hearing other than to affirm the details of his plea agreement and confirm his guilt.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Kovats did not oppose Wood's continued release, the terms of which included restricting his travel to within the state and an order to undergo a mental health evaluation to determine any need for treatment.
Tunheim also forbade Wood from any contact with the Federal Reserve or anyone associated with the investigation. Meanwhile, the government will keep a shotgun and ammunition seized from Wood's home in August, and Tunheim ordered that Wood not possess any other firearms or use drugs or alcohol while under supervision.
Hennepin County charges of first-degree property damage and reckless discharge of a firearm are still pending against Wood, and he has an omnibus hearing scheduled in that case on Dec. 28.
In the meantime, Wood is still on "off-duty" status with the Postal Service, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.
Stephen Montemayor 612-673-1755 Twitter: @smontemayor