WILLARD, Mo. — A Willard man is accused of threatening to shoot up a school, a church, and assassinate the pastor of a megachurch in Texas, according to court documents.
Nathan Elleson is charged with two counts of first-degree terrorist threat and one count of second-degree harassment.
The probable cause statement said on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, a Greene County Deputy learned Nathan Elleson contacted the National Threat Operations Center (NTOC) and said he bought a gun and wanted to “shoot up a school.” According to court records, Elleson said he wanted to commit a school shooting because he was disappointed with the country, and he had not decided which school he would target or when he would commit the crime. Elleson then retracted the statements.
The Greene County deputy investigating the case said she talked to Elleson on the phone, and he denied the call to the NTOC happened.
Court records showed that same day, Elleson sent an email to the headquarters of Life Church, which has a location in Springfield, and the email said, “I have plans to shoot up this church this Sunday.”
Investigators said Elleson had attended Life Church in Springfield and had even had his picture taken there on Easter Sunday. The church asked that Elleson be kept away from the property.
The deputy investigating this case said Elleson had sent threatening messages to his parents, according to court documents. One of the messages said he was buying a gun and that he was going to jail.
The probable cause statement also said Elleson sent a message to his parents that said, “I am going to have (Joel) Osteen assassinated.” Joes Osteen is the pastor of Lakewood Church in Texas. According to court documents, Elleson’s parents attend Lakewood Church.
“I am willing to go all the way. I might even buy a gun and shoot people. You have an obligation to report me,” Elleson messaged to his parents, according to the probable cause statement.
On Saturday, April 30, 2022, Greene County deputies arrested Elleson at his home in Willard. He was booked into the Greene County jail.
In a post-Miranda interview, Elleson admitted he called the NTOC and made a school shooting threat. Elleson said he had a drinking problem and was intoxicated and upset when he made the call, and that he did not intend to hurt anyone.
Elleson also confirmed the threat to Life Church came from his email address. He said he did not recall sending the email but did not deny sending it, according to investigators.
Investigators searched Elleson’s phone, which he had only had for a few days. Investigators said they found a Google search about whether it was illegal to say you were going to shoot someone. Elleson told investigators that he was doing research because he was curious.
Elleson has a preliminary hearing scheduled for June 15, 2022.