MADISON, Wis. – A rural Wisconsin man apparently enraged by Bristol Palin’s “Dancing with the Stars” routine blasted his television with a shotgun, leading to an all-night standoff with a SWAT team, investigators said.
Steven Cowan, 67, was arrested Tuesday morning after officers coaxed him out of his house in Vermont, a rural community near Madison. Cowan, who is accused of threatening his wife with the gun after destroying the television, appeared in a Madison courtroom Wednesday on a charge of second-degree reckless endangerment. His bail was set at $1,500.
Cowan’s wife, Janice Cowan, told investigators that her husband suffers from bipolar disorder and had threatened her life in the past.
According to court documents, Janice Cowan said her husband came home Monday from the bar and had a beer with dinner before they settled down to watch “Dancing with the Stars.”
When Palin, the 20-year-old daughter of tea party favorite Sarah Palin, began her routine, Cowan jumped up and began swearing. His wife said he was upset that a political figure’s daughter was dancing on TV even though he felt she didn’t have talent.
Janice Cowan told investigators her husband left the living room and reappeared 20 minutes later with his shotgun, “raging” with his face bright red, and blasted the TV. She said he then pointed the gun at her and told her to go fetch his pistols, and threatened to kill himself if she brought anyone back. According to the criminal complaint, Steven Cowan’s daughter recently took away his handguns for safekeeping.
“He scared the bejebees out of me,” she told detectives.
Janice Cowan fled the home and went to an attorney’s office, where she phoned police.
She said her husband was under stress because of financial reasons, saying a doctor helping him with his mental health problems had suggested he temporarily turn over control of properties he rents out to the family’s attorney.