A Colorado State University Pueblo student arrested Tuesday for having a large cache of loaded weapons on campus allegedly told other students and CSU Pueblo staff he fantasized about setting off pipe bombs in the university courtyard and gunning down other students as they fled.
In an arrest affidavit obtained by The Pueblo Chieftain on Sept. 23, the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office says that Robert James Killis, 24, made terroristic threats to university staff and students and “appeared to be in a planning stage” for an active shooter event prior to his arrest.
According to the affidavit, Killis’ threats included telling another student he was going to learn to make pipe bombs to “deal with some anti-governmental issues.”
Killis, who was living on campus in CSU Pueblo’s University Village at Walking Stick apartments, also worked on campus in a 20-hour-a-week work-study program. A witness who worked with him in the program told PCSO detectives Killis holds “extreme anti-government and anti-vaccination views” and “does not like anyone with power telling him what to do” according to the affidavit.
Killis allegedly made statements in recent weeks in front of other employees that he enjoyed “killing people.” He also allegedly made several anti-government statements and expressed a desire to kill President Joe Biden.
According to the affidavit, Killis’ violent anti-government fantasies allegedly shifted in recent weeks to CSU Pueblo and its ROTC program.
Killis, who reportedly served in the military, allegedly was angry with CSU Pueblo ROTC after he was kicked out of the program for his anti-government views and was very upset about getting kicked out.
A coworker of Killis’ alleged to PCSO detectives that after Killis was kicked out of ROTC, he began talking about purchasing body armor and an AR-style rifle, as well as a shotgun and a .45 caliber handgun.
Authorities say Killis wanted to make pipe bombs and create explosion in CSU Pueblo courtyard
Killis, according to the affidavit, also began talking about how to use pipe bombs to create an explosion in the CSU Pueblo courtyard where ROTC members eat and take breaks. He allegedly stated that he would ignite the pipe bombs and shoot the ROTC students as they ran.
When detectives obtained a search warrant for Killis’ property and truck on Sept. 21, they found an AR rifle, a shotgun, two handguns, a bulletproof vest with steel plates and approximately 1,000 rounds of ammunition, some of which was “green tip” ammunition made to pierce body armor.
Other witnesses also told detectives that Killis has carried throwing knives on his person for the past two years and “always carries a bayonet.”
One witness told detectives he recently was walking with Killis on campus and asked Killis if he might be interested in a girl they observed, to which Killis allegedly replied the girl would “be good target practice for the bayonet.”
While investigating Killis’ alleged threats, PCSO detectives located his 2020 Chevy Silverado on campus and said they could see in plain view an ammunition box on the floorboard, a bulletproof vest and a case that appeared large enough to hold a rifle or shotgun.
Detectives tailed Killis on Sept. 21 from the CSU Pueblo parking lot to an off-campus restaurant where he was contacted and asked if he had any firearms in his possession. Killis said he did not have weapons on his person but admitted to having weapons in his truck.
The affidavit notes that the weapons found in Killis’ truck — an AR rifle, a shotgun and a .45 caliber handgun — were the same weapons Killis allegedly told his coworker he would use to initiate an active shooter event.
When detectives conducted a thorough search of Killis’ pickup truck, they found the assault rifle with several, full, high-capacity magazines and seven, full, high-capacity magazines in his bulletproof vest.
There were also two loaded high-capacity magazines in his tactical belt and another eight high-capacity magazines full of ammunition in the ammunition box.
A search of Killis’ on-campus apartment uncovered another handgun with approximately 100 rounds of ammunition and a plastic gallon bag filled with about 50 batteries, which investigators confiscated since the batteries “could be used when making explosive devices,” according to the affidavit.
When Killis — who told the PCSO he still serves in the National Guard — was contacted by detectives, he denied making any claims about killing Biden and said had no plans of hurting anyone at the university.
He continuously denied making any threats to university staff or students and told a Joint Terrorism Task Force agent who interviewed him that “he had the guns on the University campus just in case there was an active shooter and he would be able to help.”
The agent, according to the affidavit, asked Killis if he had active shooter training and he said he did not.
Because firearms were found in his truck, which was observed on campus, and in his apartment, Killis was arrested for allegedly possessing weapons on a college campus, a class 6 felony.
He currently is being held in the Pueblo County Detention Center on a $500,000 bail. His first court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 30.