Authorities: Man Shoots TV While Watching Bristol Palin Dance

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.

Cowan was expected to make his initial court appearance Wednesday in Madison. Online court records show that the state public defender’s office was appointed to represent him, however the office said it had no record of him as of Wednesday morning.

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.

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.)

  • mister s

    10 years? What a joke. Give the man probation and let him go. He was provoked after all. The courts should ensure hes on meds before letting him go. Its up to his wife if she stays I guess but Ill bet she just wants him to get better so they can continue on with their lives.

  • Cleanjeans

    Anyone who watches DWTS knows he was right in what he did… Can’t believe brandy got booted but she stayed

  • Howard Blasingame

    DWTS is a popularity contest, for entertainment only. Her family’s dignity & grace under pressure has endeared them to me & my votes for Bristol reflect my admiration of them.

    • Ann63

      But she can’t dance, and the show is called DANCING with the STARS!!!!!!!

  • Ricky Harris

    Everyone that has seen DWTS knows that Brandy, Kyle or Jennifer were the favorites to win… Not Bristol!!! I see where she get’s her name from… She reminds me of a broom..(Stiff).

    • Ann63

      I fully agree, a broom with no emotions, stiff, and NOT a dancer…..

  • Susie-Q

    If I had a gun I would shoot the TV too, because Bristol Palin does not know how to dance… lol

  • Ann63

    Bristol Palin can not dance, she knows it and everyone else does too. It doesn’t matter how many votes she gets from her mother’s FANS, she still can’t dance. She couldn’t dance when she started the show and she still can’t dance, period. Her mom’s suppoters can continue to vote in blocks for her, that still does not change the fact that she can’t dance. It is really a shame that politics has gotten invoved. I hope the show does not appear next year, because the fact is it isn’t HONEST, TRUE, or entertaining anymore……
    It is a shame because now most stars will NOT appear because of this mess. The judges were SUPPOSE to be EXPERTS, so how can they accept this mess and truly respect their profession!!!!!!

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