Student arraigned for online threat to black community

HOUGHTON — The identity of the suspect who allegedly made a threat to shoot black students at Michigan Tech is now known.

21-year-old Matthew Allen Shultz is charged with Disturbing The Peace, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. Through his lawyer, Shultz stood mute to the charge so a plea of Not Guilty was entered on his behalf.

Michigan Tech was alerted to the post Thursday afternoon and has been dealing with the reaction ever since. Students and community members took part in a Peace March on Sunday as a sign of racial solidarity and to protest the perceived lenient charge in the case.

Michigan Tech Student Christina Welch, speaking on the behalf of the demonstrators, said, “The other part, which was actually walking to the court, was to inform people about the charges brought against the person and how we don’t feel as though that’s fair because at other schools, they were given a different charge so why is this person being treated any different.”

Houghton County Prosecutor Michael Makinen said in court that even though the statement allegedly posted by Shultz was “egregious”…there were no weapons found in the defendant’s possession.

Despite the public outcry, the prosecutor said he is “likely” going to be filing a motion to dismiss this specific charge while they wait the results of a forensic examination of certain computers.

Shultz said he is in his third year at Michigan Tech as a Mechanical Engineering student. The court ordered that he must stay off Michigan Tech campus until the situation is resolved.

He is currently out on bond and is scheduled to appear for a pretrial hearing on Nov. 30.