Vermont State Police pack up their equipment on Pond Road in Vernon after a suspect, later identified as Kristopher Knutson, was taken into custody on Tuesday.

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WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A Vernon man who barricaded himself in his Dunklee Drive home for five days was apparently upset that children were “being muzzled” in a “government school.”

The multi-day standoff began in the late afternoon of Sept. 2 when deputies with the Windham County Sheriff’s Office went to the home of Kristopher Knutson, 49, to confiscate his firearms, as was required in an abuse prevention order that was issued earlier that day.

Knutson refused to turn over his firearms and instead retreated into the home. Over the next several days, Knutson sent more than 100 text messages to the person who requested the prevention order.

On Sept. 4, over the span of six hours, Knutson sent the person a threat to retreive two juveniles from a “government school” where they were “being muzzled,” wrote Vermont State Trooper Tyler Noyes in an affidavit presented to the court.

In another text message, Knutson wrote “So what sort of stressors will be thrown at me today? More drone activity? More talk of [the juveniles] going to the government meat grinder? ... Something new? Like what? Let’s not forget about all those who wanna throw around their labels of mental instability, as opposed to being upset over the fact that have no say in whether or not [the juveniles] are gonna be on the receiving end of psychological abuse, under the guise of safety. ...”

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Noyes also wrote that Knutson approached a neighbor while holding a handgun to his side and told him there was going to be shootout, advising his neighbor to leave.

“Knutson posted a sign at the edge of his property that states, ‘nobody muzzles [the juveniles]! Not unless it’s over my dead body! Bring the [expletive deleted] pain! Bring it!’”

Knutson faces nine counts of violating an abuse prevention order, one count of reckless endangerment, one count of criminal threatening and one count of disturbing the peace by phone.

He is due to be arraigned in Windsor County because the courts in Vermont are holding regional arraignments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bob Audette can be contacted at raudette@reformer.com.