Delano Schools prepare for possible Oberender release

Convicted murderer held for possessing guns

Christian Phillip Oberender, of Watertown Township, was convicted in the 1995 shooting death of his mother as a 14-year-old, and 18 years later he and his collection of 13 guns is causing officials of Delano Public Schools to once again take a close look at district safety precautions.

Oberender was civilly committed as a mentally ill and dangerous person in Carver County on Dec. 1, 1998, according to the complaint filed in Carver County Court early this month alleging his illegal possession of firearms. Oberender was taken to the Carver County jail. Bail was set at $1 million bond or $100,000 cash.

“We hope he is not released any time in the future,” said Matt Schoen, superintendent of Delano Public Schools. “We hope he gets the help he needs within the safe environment of the law enforcement and mental health community.”

Oberender has been living in northern Carver County in the home in which he murdered his mother. The home has a Delano address. He was arrested there on Jan. 2 after Carver County Sheriff’s deputies learned of a picture of him on Facebook. The picture showed him with several assault rifles, and on his Facebook page he said he sympathized with shooters in the Columbine, Colo. and Newtown, Conn. school shooting incidents. Under Minnesota law, Oberender is not allowed to possess firearms.

When Sheriff’s Deputies searched Oberender’s home, they found 13 firearms and ammunition, according to the complaint. They also found a note saying that Oberender “thinks about killing all the time.”

Superintendent Schoen first heard about Oberender’s arrest on a recent television newscast. He immediately began working with the Wright County and Carver County Sheriff’s Offices. He asked them to notify him if, for some reason, Oberender were about to be released from custody. Schoen also looked at steps that Delano Schools would take to make the staff aware of what he looks like if he were to be released.

Schoen plans to “take appropriate steps” to notify parents as well as staff of any impending release of Oberender. The School District would send out e-mails containing information that law enforcement agencies would allow to be released.

He said that, as far as he knows, Oberender has had no connection with Delano Public Schools. He attended Watertown Mayer Public Schools prior to shooting his mother. However, because Watertown is a close neighbor to Delano, Schoen has been talking with the superintendent of Watertown Mayer Schools to share procedures and protocols for issues such as the Oberender case.

“I want to assure our community that we are in constant communication with law enforcement agencies regarding any safety measures pertaining to this or any other incident,” Schoen said.

He added that the Wright County Sheriff’s Office has a deputy liaison officer on the Delano Schools campus during the entire school day. He works very closely with principals and administrators and they consult with him on a variety of issues.

“Schools have been working on security issues for a long time,” Schoen said. “We continue to review our procedures.”