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Postal employee accused of firing shotgun into Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis

Christopher Douglas Wood

MINNEAPOLIS — A U.S. Postal Service employee is accused of firing a shotgun into the Federal Reserve Bank building in downtown Minneapolis last month while some employees were still inside and hundreds of spectators were gathered outside to watch a fireworks display.

The Minneapolis Police Department's Violent Criminal Apprehension Team arrested Christopher Douglas Wood on Monday, Aug. 20, as he was leaving his St. Paul apartment in the 2300 block of Long Avenue after a U.S. postal inspector helped investigators link him to the incident, legal documents say.

Wood, 43, now faces charges of reckless discharge of a dangerous weapon within a municipality, first-degree damage to property that caused a reasonable risk of bodily harm to others, as well as a second count of first-degree damage to property that caused more than $1,000 in damage, according to the criminal complaint filed Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court.

Wood fired a 12-gauge shotgun from near the roof of the Minneapolis Central Post Office across Hennepin Avenue and into the Federal Reserve Ban between 10 and 11:15 p.m. July 21, charges say.

At the time, hundreds of people were gathered outside the building to watch Minneapolis' annual Aquatennial fireworks show. The Federal Reserve Bank operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so some employees were still inside working when Wood fired the shots, according to the criminal complaint.

The shotgun slugs broke through the building's fascia and windows before smashing through interior walls and into the office space where bank employees work, legal documents say. The shots caused about $40,000 worth of damage.

No one was injured.

Investigators were tipped to Wood's possible involvement in the shooting after a postal inspector reported observing Woods shooting "some sort of improvised gun made from PVC" inside the Central Post Office's parking ramp about 45 minutes before his 4 p.m. shift was to start the day before the incident, the complaint said.

He also reportedly didn't leave work until 11:15 p.m. the day of the shooting, even though his shift ended at 10 p.m., authorities say.

The Federal Reserve Law Enforcement agency was also able to determine via lasers the trajectory of the shots that struck the building and traced them back to to the spot in the post office's parking ramp where Wood parks his car, charges say.

After his arrest, Minneapolis police searched his St. Paul apartment and found a 12-gauge shotgun under his bed, as well as a "wide assortment of ammunition," including ammunition for the shotgun, the complaint said.

Other firearms were also found inside his residence, according to an application for a search warrant filed recently in Ramsey County District Court.

Officers also found pamphlets about a political movement known as "End the Fed," which is critical of the Federal Reserve Bank as well as a stack of counterfeit bills depicting former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul's face, authorities say.

Wood's attorney, John Price III, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the allegations facing his client.

Wood has no criminal record in Minnesota.

He posted bond Thursday and was released from custody on the condition that he surrender his passport and not possess guns or explosives, among other conditions.

His next court date will be in October in Hennepin County District Court.