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Aurora Plains resident charged after attacking staff, spraying fire extinguisher at deputy

The man faces three counts of aggravated assault.

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A Plankinton man was charged with three felonies after police say he attacked and threatened to kill staff at the Aurora Plains Academy last week.

John Cole, 19, a resident of the Aurora Plains Academy, was charged with three counts of aggravated assault for his use of weapons in an attack at the Academy.

On Sept. 7, police responded to a report of a male assaulting staff and walking around the premises with a garden hoe and fire extinguisher. Cole was allegedly holding both items when police arrived.

An arrest affidavit says that upon arrival, Cole aimed and released the fire extinguisher toward the responding deputy. The deputy decided to wait behind a closed door for backup to arrive.

Court documents allege that Cole threw rocks at a staff member and threatened to stab her with the garden hoe, which was sharpened on one end.

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"If you touch me, I'll kill you," Cole allegedly told the employee.

Another staff member alleges that Cole threw plexiglass shards at him and hit him in the back with a rock. The employee also claims Cole threatened to hit employees with the fire extinguisher.

A third witness corroborated the employees' statements.

Cole's charges are all Class 3 felonies, each punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a $30,000 fine or both.

A date for an initial court appearance has not yet been set.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on regional news that impacts the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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