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Former ski patroller in San Miguel County arrested on charge of threatening to 'blow up' sheriff's office, restaurant

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Posted at 10:29 AM, May 24, 2022

SAN MIGUEL COUNTY, Colo. — A former Telluride ski patroller was arrested and charged after he allegedly threatened to "blow up" the San Miguel County Sheriff's Office, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado and the man's arrest affidavit.

According to an arrest affidavit, the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office identified Bryan Randolph Cornwell, 39, of Norwood, as a person of interest in relation to a woman who died of a suspected fentanyl overdose on Feb. 16. The two had been dating at the time.

After investigators contacted Cornwell, he became agitated and allegedly sent threats via text messages to one of the investigators on May 20. The affidavit included the below screenshot of the texts. Denver7 has redacted names and profanities.

Bryan Randolph Cornwell texts from arrest affidavit
Bryan Randolph Cornwell texts from arrest affidavit

The two names redacted in the texts were involved in the investigation into the woman's death, and Lone Cone is a restaurant in Norwood where the woman had worked, according to the affidavit. Investigators believed that Cornwell was referring to the San Miguel Sheriff's Office when he stated "your station."

A database search for his phone number came up with an address in Middletown, Virginia, and investigators were then able to obtain a current address for Cornwell along Spruce Street in Norwood.

He previously worked as a ski patroller for Telluride Ski and Golf, according to the affidavit. He was terminated from the position on Feb. 21 after failing a drug test. A pyrotechnician from Telluride Ski and Golf told investigators that Cornwell had handled explosives that were used for avalanche control and mitigation during his time working there.

Investigators also learned that Cornwell had a marijuana grow at his home. Certain fertilizers "may be converted into an explosive device with the presence of a blasting cap and a booster charge," the affidavit reads.

Cornwell made his first appearance in federal court in Grand Junction on Monday. A detention hearing is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 6, according to the district attorney's office.

If he is convicted, he will face 10 years or less in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

The sheriff's office, along with the FBI, is working on this investigation.

Norwood is about 30 miles northwest of Telluride.