Lockdown suspect ordered to seek mental health treatment

HOUGHTON — A Houghton County man who caused a lockdown at an elementary school this week appeared in court Wednesday morning.

Things are back to normal at Houghton Elementary School, but that wasn’t the case Monday morning. That’s when Niles Nathan Rothenberger, 30 of Atlantic Mine, was arrested after police received reports that he was acting suspicious. Their investigation allegedly discovered 3.5 grams of marijuana in his vehicle along with a properly stored shotgun and a knife. The school went into a “shelter in place” situation for the safety of the children.

Prosecutor Michael Makinen said the police report from the Negaunee Dispatch Station said Rothenberger was reportedly armed with what was described as “crucifixion” stakes, acting irrationally, and he believed he was Jesus. At his arraignment Wednesday in 97th District Court, Rothenberger was charged with Possession of Marijuana on school property, which is a high-court misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison and/or $2,000 fine. Makinen said the defendant has a medical marijuana card and possibly a medical marijuana caregiver’s card.

No charge was brought at this time for the weapons in the vehicle and it is not believed that he had any intentions of harming anyone. The court ordered Rothenberger to turn over all of his firearms to the Houghton County Sheriff’s Department and was released on a $1,000 Personal Recognizance bond. He was also ordered to seek mental health treatment as a condition of his bond.

He is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on December 14th at 10:00am.