Police Chief, ISD 709 Superintendent Debrief After School Shooting Threat

Chief Tusken and Superintendent Gronseth Proud of Teams' responses.

DULUTH, Minn.- Duluth’s top cop Chief Mike Tusken, and Superintendent of District 709 Schools Bill Gronseth are reflecting on last week’s active shooter threat at Duluth East High School.

The incident involved 36-year-old Travis Busch, who was accused of threatening to shoot officers and others in the school.

Authorities also found guns in his car in the school parking lot, and in his downtown apartment.

All in all the Police Chief and Superintendent congratulated officers, school officials, and perhaps most importantly, the person police say Busch texted his threats to, who knew him and felt those threats were serious enough to report right away.

Travis Busch was working as a job coach at Duluth East for a cafeteria employee with special needs.

But the Chief says once he started making his threats, all hands were on deck at all schools.

“We had to first identify, where was the threat?” said Tusken. “So by doing that, before we could figure that out we thought it was best practice to try to get a cop at every one of those 30 buildings in the city.”

Court documents say Busch texted threats to someone he knew, saying would shoot officers and others in the school.

He also claimed that he had the weapons to commit a mass murder similar to the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.

Officials say the person on the other side of Busch’s text messages was vital to making a safe arrest in about 59 minutes.

“We are so thankful to the person who filed that report, he is one of the heroes in this for reporting what he knew,” Gronseth said.

Due to the severity of Busch’s threats, Chief Tusken said having a school resource officer present added an extra layer of security.

“Should you have a threat like this, you have a licensed, trained police officer that is on site that has the ability to be a first responder,” said Tusken.

“So although it took a few minutes of response time to get additional help for our SRO, we had boots on the ground from minute one.”

It took officers about 2 minutes to detain Busch after locating him unarmed in a cold storage room in the cafeteria, with the employee he was supervising.

When asked about what they would change about their teams’ responses, both the chief and the superintendent were confident in saying they thought everything went exactly as it should.

But, Chief Tusken said that following an after action review where officers talk with the city and officials from district schools, they’ll have clearer items they could change going forward.

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