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Bus shooting 'purely an accident'

A 19-year-old Wadena man accused of allegedly shooting an air gun at three Wadena-Deer Creek school buses with children on them on March 3 said he had no intention of shooting at the buses.

"It was purely an accident," said Timothy Mindermann, 19, in a phone interview.

He was driving his car with the window down on Minnesota Highway 29 and found his spring-powered airsoft gun under the seat of his car, he said. He hadn't seen it in a while and was playing with it, he said.

Mindermann said he didn't realize the gun had actually fired and hit the school buses until law enforcement knocked on his door.

A former Wadena-Deer Creek student, Mindermann said he was involved in several extra-curricular activities, such as German club and FFA.

"I never had anything against the school," he said. "It was an accident."

He is in the U.S. Army Reserve and said he would never intentionally try to hurt someone.

"Why would any person in the U.S. Army want to purposefully hurt anyone?" he asked.

Mindermann is charged with three felony counts of second-degree assault in Otter Tail County for the alleged shooting. The three school buses each had a cracked window from the shots.

According to an Otter Tail County court complaint, Mindermann was driving east on Highway 29 with a juvenile passenger in the vehicle. The passenger told investigators that Mindermann had fired about three times out the window at the school buses.

Mindermann was shocked by the charges, he said.

"That's very extreme, considering it was an accident," he said.