Musket sparks fear in Clark

Dec 042007
Authors: Erik Myers

CSUPD officers paced the halls of the Clark Building Tuesday morning after receiving a report of a gunman entering the building’s C wing.

Officers quickly determined that the situation was a false alarm, identifying the “gunman” as associate history professor Robert Gudmestad, who had entered the building with an antique musket rifle.

CSUPD issued an e-mail to students two hours later to clarify the incident.

Lynn Stutheit, a secretary for the Anthropology Department, said she was shocked when she encountered one man wielding a rifle in the hall north of her office. Though she exchanged stares with the man, he moved silently into the stairwell, whereupon Stutheit returned to her office.

Unknowingly to Stutheit, she had just encountered a plain-clothed police officer, one of several who had responded to the scene. She said it had been a frightening encounter, but was satisfied with CSUPD’s response.

“Its difficult to read about it, and then think that you’re in that situation,” Stutheit said. “I was impressed that they had gotten here so fast.”

Gudmestad had been carrying a Civil War-era musket, dated at 1856 and long rendered unusable. He said he meant to use the antique item, which he owns, as an educational tool for the students in his U.S. History to 1876 course.

“The intent was to give students a better appreciation of the experience of a civil war solider, particularly what it took to march, load, and engage in combat.” Gudmestad said.

Dell Rae Mollenberg, a CSU spokesperson, said CSUPD would not be taking action against the professor. But whether he’d be dealt disciplinary action could not be discussed, as it is a personnel issue, she said.

Gudmestad was surprised with the immediate response to the musket, and says he would’ve done things differently had he known the consequences.

“I’m not sure it would’ve been worth the trouble to actually bring it into class, just because of the misunderstandings, I can understand that,” Gudmestad said. “I view this as a historical artifact; never really considered it as anything else. And so, I apologize.”

Assistant News Editor Erik Myers can be reached at

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