MADISON, Wis. (AP) —A rural Wisconsin man blasted his television set with a shotgun after watching Bristol Palin’s “Dancing with the Stars” routine Monday night, saying he was fed up with politics and Palin wasn’t a very good dancer, according to court documents.

Steven Cowan, 67, of the town of Vermont, about 15 miles west of Madison, then pointed the gun at his wife, 66-year-old Janice Cowan, who escaped and called police, authorities said. A SWAT team surrounded the couple’s farmhouse, and officers were able to talk Cowan out Tuesday morning after an all-night standoff.

Cowan had been drinking before he sat down to watch “Dancing with the Stars” and suffers from bipolar disorder, his wife told officers. He was charged Tuesday with second-degree reckless endangerment, and could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Bail was set at $1,500 for Cowan at his initial court appearance Wednesday in Madison. State Public Defender Jonas Bednarek, who represented Cowan, declined to comment. Cowan’s preliminary hearing was set for Dec. 6.

Dane County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Elise Schaffer said Cowan works as a landlord, but that she didn’t know where he owned property. He has a clean criminal record, she said.

“It’s kind of sad, actually,” Schaffer said.

Janice Cowan told police her husband came home around 6:30 p.m. Monday after drinking at a bar, but that she didn’t know if he was drunk, a sheriff’s detective wrote in a criminal complaint.

She said her husband drank a bottle of beer during dinner and they settled down to watch “Dancing with the Stars.”

When Palin, the daughter of former vice presidential candidate-turned-GOP celebrity Sarah Palin, began her routine, Cowan jumped up and began swearing, saying something like “The (expletive) politics.” 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.

She told officers her husband left the living room and reappeared 20 minutes later with his shotgun, “raging” with his face bright red, and blasted the TV.

“He scared the bejebees out of me,” Janice Cowan told police.

She said her husband pointed the gun at her and told her to go get his pistols. She said he threatened to kill himself if she returned with anyone else.

She left the home and called police from a nearby lawyer’s office, according to the complaint.

The criminal complaint said Steven Cowan’s daughter recently took away his handguns for safekeeping. It did not elaborate.

Cowan was ordered Wednesday by Dane County Circuit Court Commissioner Todd Meurer not to have any firearms in his residence, consume alcohol or contact his wife in person should he post bail.

Janice Cowan told officers that about 15 years ago her husband had threatened her with a machete when he couldn’t find some ammunition and has threatened to shoot one of their cows.

She added he 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 his rental properties to the family’s attorney. Calls Wednesday morning to a number listed as the Cowans’ could not be connected.

The Internet has been abuzz in recent days about how Bristol Palin, who has consistently landed at the bottom of the judges’ leaderboard, has been able to remain on the ABC show. Some have suggested that voters — particularly supporters of her mother — have been voting in blocs and manipulating the system.

Both Palins have denied any organized vote-getting tactics. Bristol Palin, 20, says voters support her despite lackluster performances because she started the show with no dancing experience.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (20)
  1. linda says:

    i don’t blame him for shooting out his tv after watching her – LOL

  2. Dustin says:

    Why is the top news for WCCO? A man shoots his TV after watching a show? Is it because he is from Wisconsin, or is it because of Palin. Anything to get a rip on one of those.
    How about finding some real news?

    1. Larry R. C. says:

      It’s because he is from Wisconsin. Tere is a past as far as Wisconsin news storys go!

  3. Bob Smee says:

    I agree with Dustin. Let’s hear more about Don Shelby retiring.

    1. Sarah says:

      HAHA…so true…seriously?!?!

    2. Larry R. C. says:

      Everone knows there is something in the water in Wisconsin! That is where the best news storys come from!

  4. Fred says:

    I agree with Dustin too. Also change your web site or go back to the old one. I might have to get my local internet new from Kare 11

    1. keasha says:

      than go to lame kare 11, if your such an avid wcco fan, than you wouldnt be threatening them and going to a boring network!

  5. Susan says:

    Oh my gosh, you guys, you’re upset about something so trivial? The story must have sparked an interest or wouldn’t have read it! I love your new website WCCO!

  6. keasha says:

    good god people, its just top news for the entertainment segement. relax, this is hilarious!

  7. WM says:

    don’t like the new website or all the BS to get to the different radar views from the weather pages – I can get my info somewhere else and skip this site entirely.

  8. Nate says:

    i shot my computer monitor after reading this story

    1. LuLu says:

      best response yet! pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez just make those people (palin and the palinettes) GO AWAY!!!!!!!!! FAR, FAR AWAY!!!!!!!!!! like russia, since it’s just a stones throw from their yard!!!!!!!!!!

  9. liz says:

    inhale people .. there is no shotgun to your head for clicking on the story …

  10. JR says:

    Why does a drinking bipolar man have a shotgun and pistols in his house? I hope he didn’t legally possess those.

  11. Nancy says:

    I think that Ms. Palin has done a great job of doing what the show is all about; becoming a Dancer, the most improved Dancer. However much I Love & support ALL the other Dancers, my opinion is that Ms. Palin has indees stayed focused thru all the nonsence around Her and has the right to move on to the finals as one of the most improved Dancers. Leave the politics where they belong.

  12. Gene Phares says:

    This guy must be the only person in America who doesn’t know the contest is rigged? If they really wanted to make it fair, have a extra panel of 10 professional judges who also rate the dancers and have their scores count as 50% with the three main judges counting for 50%. Hide the ten judges scores until the next night. Then it would be about dancing and not about ratings.

  13. Bev says:

    All America is doing is making Palin’s rich and they are laughing all the way to the bank. She dumped her state of Alaska, her job Governor because she wanted to seek fortune. Since ditching her job as governor of Alaska last July, the former GOP vice presidential contender has raked in at least $12 million in royalties, fees and salary, That’s almost 100 times the $125,000 per year she was pulling down as governor of Alaska, a job she quit last summer by saying she didn’t want to become “a lame duck.. don’t watch the Palin’s she using you as a FOOL.

  14. Molly says:

    People, get a grip and even more importantly get a life!! I hope that guy gets the help he needs before his wife becomes a statistic. I had a family member who didn’t and now his wife is a widow