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Couple charged with felonies after allegedly threatening canoeists on Beltrami County creek

An East Bethel, Minn., couple was charged with felonies Wednesday in Beltrami County District Court after allegedly threatening a group of canoeists.

Paul Matthew Hunt, 42, was charged with second-degree assault with a deadly weapon. If convicted, the maximum penalty is seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine.

Stephanie Michelle Hunt, 36, was charged with making terroristic threats with reckless disregard for risk. If convicted, the maximum penalty is five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Both remained in Beltrami County Jail Wednesday afternoon.

The couple allegedly threatened a group of canoeists Saturday afternoon while they were traveling down Darrigan's Creek, a public waterway that connects with White Fish Lake and flows through sections of Hagali Township.

According to the criminal complaint:

The nine canoeists passed the Hunt property at 6608 Silent Water Road when a young male approached and told them they were trespassing. The canoeists responded that they were on a public waterway.

As the conversation progressed, Paul Hunt appeared and also accused the canoeists of trespassing, which they denied doing.

Paul Hunt then pulled a .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun from the young male's sweatshirt, pointed it at one of the canoeists, called him a name and said he would have no problem killing him.

A female canoeist then spoke up and Paul Hunt pointed the handgun at her, saying he would have no problem killing her just as easily.

Paul Hunt then deliberately fired a bullet into the water next to him and trained it back on the male canoeist.

The canoeists left and pulled their canoes onto Hagali Road.

Paul Hunt and his wife, Stephanie Hunt, then confronted the canoeists together. Stephanie Hunt told the canoeists she had two guns in her pockets and the canoeists were lucky she had not confronted them earlier as she would have killed them. Paul Hunt said he was a Gulf War veteran and that when he became angry, he went into "combat mode."

Later, once one of the canoeists told a family member of the incident, Beltrami County law enforcement was contacted.

The special weapons and tactics unit responded to the scene, surrounded the Hunts' house and arrested Paul and Stephanie Hunt. Three handguns were seized during the execution of a search warrant.