Chisholm shootings: 'Man on a mission'

HIBBING -- Witnesses said former police officer Jason Mark Musburger had an expression "like a man on a mission" Saturday night as he returned to Jim's Sports Bar in Chisholm with two fully-loaded handguns.

HIBBING -- Witnesses said former police officer Jason Mark Musburger had an expression "like a man on a mission" Saturday night as he returned to Jim's Sports Bar in Chisholm with two fully-loaded handguns.

Musburger had two earlier confrontations that evening with his ex-wife in the bar. In one, he flipped the baseball cap she was wearing off of her head and called her a derogatory name. He then got into an argument with a man. Cale Nelson, a former member of a U.S. Army Special Forces Unit who was a sniper in Bosnia, intervened and put Musburger on the ground. He held him there until Musburger acknowledged the confrontation was over.

But it wasn't over.

Musburger has since told investigators that he felt humiliated by what happened in front of his ex-wife. He left the bar, went home and returned with a .38 revolver and a 9mm handgun.

He walked up to the table where the previous altercation had occurred and where his ex-wife was sitting with three men. He fired one shot into the vicinity of the heart of 40-year-old Edward J. Walberg Jr., killing him, two shots into Nelson's torso, critically injuring him, and one shot into the shoulder of Larry Elj, who grappled with him.


The five shots emptied the revolver. He didn't get a chance to use the other gun. Bar patrons subdued Musburger until law enforcement officers arrived.

Musburger's ex-wife, Janice Mehle, told investigators she ran when she heard the first shot and was not hit. Musburger knew none of the three men he shot, authorities said.

Those are the allegations contained in a criminal complaint drafted and filed Thursday by Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Brian Simonson charging Musburger, 47, with second-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, one count of attempted second-degree murder, harassment or stalking and violation of a restraining order. Prosecutors still could seek a first-degree murder indictment as well.

According to the criminal complaint:

Musburger could not deal with the split up of his marriage. Musburger's doctor contacted Chisholm police in December 2008 and reported that he had made a comment about shooting himself and his wife, and that he would then start his vehicle on fire with himself inside.

Musburger's wife told the doctor that her husband had shown her a pistol he had been carrying in his jacket pocket. She said he told her he had a list of people who had wronged him in the past and he would soon end it all.

At that time, Chisholm police officers took Musburger to the Hibbing hospital and he was held for 72 hours.

The couple was divorced in April. As part of the divorce decree, there was a one-year restraining order requiring that Musburger have no contact with his ex-wife except to arrange time with their three children.


The complaint states that Musburger was upset about an incident with his ex-wife last week. The two of them had been at parents night at a Chisholm school function. Musburger wanted her to sit by him as a family. She

didn't want to. He told her he loved her and they should work it out.

Days later, investigators say, he confronted her at the sports bar and ended up shooting her companions.

On Thursday, Musburger stood before Judge Mark Starr in an orange jail jump suit wearing leg irons and handcuffs.

Musburger, who was a Chisholm police officer in the 1980s and who had been working as a meter reader for the city's water department, asked the court for a public defender. But when he told Starr that he owned his home, which he valued at $75,000 to $80,000 with $25,000 remaining to be paid, the judge told him he didn't qualify for a public defender and must retain his own counsel.

The court set bail at $2 million. Musburger is being held in the St. Louis County Jail. His next court appearance is scheduled for March 19.

Nelson was upgraded from critical condition to serious condition earlier this week, and remained in that condition Thursday at St. Mary's Medical Center. Elj was released from the hospital after being treated for his injuries.

Walberg's funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. today in the Chisholm Baptist Church. Interment will follow at Chisholm Cemetery.

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