Allamakee County man pleads to hospital threats after Onalaska store wouldn't sell him a gun

Allamakee County man pleads to hospital threats after Onalaska store wouldn't sell him a gun

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Williams Fredric Harrison mug


DECORAH, Iowa — An Allamakee County man has pleaded to charges he phoned threats to a Decorah hospital after a sporting goods store wouldn’t sell him a gun.

Williams Fredric Harrison Jr., 59, had been scheduled to go to trial this week, but he entered Alford pleas — not admitting guilt but acknowledging he could be convicted if the case went to trial — to a reduced charge of second-degree harassment.

Charges of threat of terrorism and first-degree harassment were dismissed as part of the plea.

Judge Richard Stochl sentenced Harrison to 30 days in jail with credit for time served.

Harrison has been transferred to the Linn County Jail in Cedar Rapids, where he is awaiting trial on federal charges of being a drug user in possession of ammunition in connection with the same incident.

Court records indicate authorities seized several firearms from Harrison in 2016 during a domestic abuse investigation. He later pleaded to a misdemeanor charge of non-domestic assault and possession of marijuana.

On Nov. 23, 2018, Harrison attempted to purchase a .223-caliber SIG Sauer M400 military-style rifle at the Gander Outdoors store in Onalaska, according to court records. He paid $1,126, but the National Instant Criminal Background Check system delayed the sale, records state.

The following day, Nov. 24, 2018, staff at Winneshiek Medical Center’s emergency room received several threatening phone calls. The caller said he wanted a certain doctor dead and told them, “You all will be dead.” The caller also complained mental background checks were keeping people like him from getting guns.

The call triggered a two-day lockdown at the hospital.

Court records show on Nov. 26, after the phone calls, Harrison petitioned the courts for the return of the rifle and shotguns seized in 2016. A December 2018 hearing was scheduled, but before that day arrived investigators linked the hospital phone calls to Harrison.

When authorities searched Harrison’s home, they found 200 rounds of .223-cal. ammunition, a receipt for the rifle he had attempted to purchase in Wisconsin and glass pipes containing what appeared to be marijuana residue, according to court records.


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