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Skylar Sebastian McCollaum

Skylar Sebastian McCollaum

A military veteran who walked through Tangent with an AR-15 last week was arraigned in Linn County Circuit Court on Tuesday afternoon for bringing a firearm into Tangent City Hall.

Skylar Sebastian McCollaum, 30, of Tangent, was charged with possession of a firearm or dangerous weapon in a public building or court facility, a class C felony.

McCollaum triggered a lockdown at Tangent Elementary School on Sept. 4. At about 9 a.m. that day, he walked past the facility with the AR-15, a holstered handgun and while dressed in tactical gear.

He then went into City Hall, though he admitted in court on Tuesday that he didn’t know that bringing a weapon into the building was a crime.

During Tuesday’s court appearance, prosecutor Lindy Kalodimos called the facts of the case “chilling” and requested substantial security to keep the community safe.

She added that McCollaum had mental health issues.

Defense attorney Tyler Reid, who handled Tuesday afternoon’s teleconference session of in-custody arraignments from the Linn County Jail, said that McCollaum had post-traumatic stress disorder and was 100% disabled.

He said McCollaum had a bed at an inpatient treatment facility in Utah waiting for him.

Reid acknowledged that the optics of the case appeared poor, but there was no evidence of bad intent and McCollaum cooperated with authorities. He requested a conditional release from jail without bail for McCollaum.

McCollaum told Judge David Delsman that he helped with a Sept. 11 remembrance tournament two days earlier, and that he has health issues from radiation exposure, such as seizures and vomiting.

He also said there was no negative intent from last week's  incident.

Delsman set security at $25,000, and said that if McCollaum posts 10 percent of his bail to be released, he can’t possess firearms.

“Your honor, why is there such high bail?” McCollaum asked.

According to a probable cause affidavit in the case, McCollaum’s AR-15 was not loaded. His pistol was loaded, though there was no bullet in the chamber.

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A Linn County Sheriff’s Office deputy was dispatched to Tangent Elementary School, 32100 Old Oak Drive, for a reported weapons offense, and contacted McCollaum as he was walking home.

McCollaum told the deputy that he went to City Hall, 32166 Old Oak Drive, to ask questions about an ordinance, the affidavit states.

A city of Tangent employee who talked with McCollaum said that he was respectful and courteous, according to the affidavit.

Though the incident occurred on Sept. 4, McCollaum wasn’t arrested until Monday.

“It looks like on the fourth, we were really focused on the safety of the school. We later went back. We missed this portion and went back and charged him for being in the city building,” said Lt. Michelle Duncan, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office.

Duncan added that McCollaum never entered school grounds.

Prosecutor Julia Baker, who is handling the case moving forward for the Linn County District Attorney’s Office, said that the crime McCollaum was charged with is very rare.

“I haven’t seen this charge in all the years that I’ve been here,” added Baker, who became a Linn County prosecutor in November 2013.

“These are the same rules that apply to our courthouse, that are posted on the door,” Baker said.

McCollaum also has an open Linn County case where he is charged with reckless driving, failure to perform the duties of a driver — property damage and two counts of reckless endangering.

The crimes allegedly occurred in May and were investigated by the Albany Police Department.

All of the charges in that case are misdemeanors.

A six-person jury trial is scheduled for Oct. 30 before Judge Thomas McHill.

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Kyle Odegard can be contacted at 541-812-6077 or kyle.odegard@lee.net.

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