MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota man who recently purchased an assault rifle out of fear of an impending gun ban threatened his teenage daughter with it because she was getting two B’s in school rather than straight A’s, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.
Kirill Bartashevitch, 51, of St. Paul, was charged in Ramsey County District Court with two felony counts of terroristic threats after allegedly pointing an AK-47 at his daughter and wife during an argument over high school grades on Jan. 13.
No shots were fired, but Bartashevitch threw his wife to the floor, the complaint alleged.
Bartashevitch had recently purchased the rifle because he thought that such guns soon will be banned, the complaint said. He admitted to St. Paul police that he had pointed the gun at his wife and daughter but said it wasn’t loaded and that he had checked the chamber beforehand.
“Any gun owner in America will tell you that’s incredibly irresponsible,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi. “You just don’t point guns at people.”
Threatening someone with a gun is a crime of violence regardless of the type of weapon or whether it’s loaded, Choi said. The incident took place at the family’s house. The girl’s concerns came to light four days later at Central High School when a social worker received a report from a parent who was monitoring her son’s electronic communications and read a message from the girl.
According to the complaint, the argument began when Bartashevitch berated his daughter for not making straight A’s at school. The girl swore at her father and stated that she “hated” him. He then pointed his new AK-47 at the girl, the complaint said.
The mother said that when she tried to protect the girl, her husband pushed her to the floor.
Police searched the residence and recovered 9-mm ammunition and receipts documenting that Bartashevitch had sold two assault rifles to gun shops on Tuesday. One, which he sold for $150, was an AK-47. The other, sold for $375, was a newer AK-47 clone rifle.
The complaint didn’t state whether one of the rifles was involved in the alleged incident.
The incident comes in the midst of a buying spree at gun shops in reaction to President Barack Obama’s proposed gun control measures in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut.
“There’s been a large uptick in all firearms, assault weapons or not,” said John Monson, owner of Bill’s Gun Shop, which has three locations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. “Anything with high-capacity firearms, handguns, those things are all extremely hard to get and selling extremely fast. People are buying them because they want to get them before someone tells them they can’t. I’ve got a ton of customers buying guns with no intentions of ever taking it out of the box.”
Law enforcement sources said Friday that legal gun purchases — even during the current buying surge — don’t threaten public safety, but unlocked guns do when people are under duress.
Tracking motives of gun buyers is difficult, said St. Paul police Sgt. Paul Paulos. “Is this something that’s going to continue? I don’t have an answer for that because everyone’s an individual.”
The girl has been taken to a shelter, the complaint said.
Bartashevitch, who is an employee of Minneapolis Public Schools, was in custody and made his first appearance in court Friday. Bail was set at $20,000.
His next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 1 in Ramsey County.
Bartashevitch has a previous conviction for disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, in 2000. He received a year of probation for that offense.