A onetime Postal Service employee who “found himself obsessively chasing conspiracy theories” before he fired three shotgun blasts across Hennepin Avenue from his workplace into the Federal Reserve Building in downtown Minneapolis has been sentenced to less than a year’s confinement.
Christopher D. Wood, 43, of St. Paul, was sentenced in federal court in Minneapolis last week to four months of incarceration and another four months of home confinement in connection with taking aim on the building during a fireworks display on July 21 from the Minneapolis Central Post Office parking ramp after his shift ended.
The Federal Reserve building was occupied at that late hour, and hundreds of people were outside watching the Aquatennial fireworks display, but no one was injured despite one slug piercing a triple-pane security window and lodging in a seventh-floor ceiling, according to court records.
Wood’s sentence, coming after he pleaded guilty to possession with intent to use a firearm in a federal facility, also orders him to pay more than $40,000 for the damage he inflicted on the Federal Reserve building.
While lacking a criminal history, “unfortunately, the defendant recently found himself obsessively chasing conspiracy theories in the fever swamps and dark corners of the internet,” read the prosecution’s presentencing argument for 10 to 16 months in prison.
Police in August raided Wood’s St. Paul apartment and found a 12-gauge shotgun, a pistol and ammunition, literature referencing the “End the Fed” movement and counterfeit bills bearing the likeness of former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul. They also turned up in his vehicle a handgun with loaded magazines and more literature similar to what was found in his home.
Investigators also found an item related to 9/11 conspiracies in Wood’s car and described Facebook posts that included references to “fastest firing shotgun” and “Lucifer-Obama,” according to a state search warrant.
The defense, arguing for a sentence of no more than probation, acknowledged that depression fed “what he described as an addiction” to conspiracy theories.
“I became addicted to what’s true and what’s false,” the defense filing quoted him saying. “Who is wrong and who is right. I started to believe I was at the bottom and that the Fed was the top, and it made me feel small and powerless in a messed-up world.”
Wood also laid some of the blame for his state of mind on his 20 years working for the U.S. Postal Service, which he described in the defense filing as “robotic” and “soul-sucking.”
Management tracked “exactly how long it took to complete a task; all breaks, including those to the restroom, where required to be clocked and measured in the hundredths of an hour,” the filing read.
Wood was quoted in the defense argument as saying, “You could see the deterioration of everyone’s mental health.”
To further support its client, the defense pointed out that Wood is not a risk to the public and has been in “perfect compliance” with the court’s wishes since his arrest.
Raised in St. Paul in a strong Christian environment, the defense added, Wood has resumed attending church.