School shooting jokes lead to gun seizure, guilty pleas for Lumsden man

Michael Sollid, 28, pleaded guilty to two firearms offences and received a conditional discharge in provincial court on Thursday. (Trevor Bothorel/CBC - image credit)
Michael Sollid, 28, pleaded guilty to two firearms offences and received a conditional discharge in provincial court on Thursday. (Trevor Bothorel/CBC - image credit)

A Lumsden man learned the hard way not to joke about planning a school shooting while buying large amounts of bullets.

Michael Sollid, 28, pleaded guilty to two firearms offences and received a conditional discharge in provincial court on Thursday. Sollid must also forfeit a $100,000 collection of firearms seized during the investigation.

The sentence was suggested in a joint submission from Crown and defence lawyers.

In April 2023, Sollid purchased 50 magazines and ammunition for "assault-style" rifles at a sporting goods store. An employee asked Sollid why he needed such a large quantity of ammo.

"Watch the news. I'm going to be the next school shooter," Sollid said to the employee, according to the agreed statement of facts.

He also mentioned how easy it is to modify magazines to get around the legal requirement limiting their capacity to five cartridges. The comments alarmed employees and they reported Sollid to Saskatoon police.

Police seized a total of 61 firearms from Sollid, including 25 restricted firearms such as handguns. The rest were mostly non-restricted rifles. Sollid had properly stored all the firearms.

Police also seized more than 150 magazines and large quantities of ammunition, including prohibited .50 calibre "armour-piercing" rounds and modified magazines.

Police charged Sollid with possession of a prohibited device (magazines capable of containing more than five cartridges) and possession of prohibited ammunition. There were no charges related to uttering threats.

"This was a stupid mistake," Sollid said before sentencing. "I care greatly about my community. I'm sorry."

Sollid is a paramedic in Lumsden and does not have a criminal record. Defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle submitted 10 letters of support for Sollid from family, friends and his EMS supervisor, who said Sollid is a stellar employee known for visiting patients in the hospital.

Court heard that police scoured Sollid's personal electronics and found no evidence he had researched or planned a mass shooting. A psychological exam found no red flags for mental health issues and gave Sollid the lowest possible score for risk factors.

His family and friends did say that Sollid has a dark sense of humour, partly due to the difficult nature of his EMS job. The school shooting comments were misguided jokes, Pfefferle said.

The conditional discharge sentence means Sollid will not have a criminal record. He also is banned from possessing firearms for 10 years and restricted firearms for life. The court ordered him to forfeit his $100,000 gun collection and complete 40 hours of community service.