Douglas High student held in threats
MINDEN – A Douglas High School student was arrested at his home Friday after he allegedly made two threats against classmates who had gathered to pray earlier last week at the flagpole in front of the school.
Daniel Robert Ferguson, 18, was being held in Douglas County Jail on $5,000 cash bail. He was charged with threatening to cause bodily harm to a pupil or school employee, a gross misdemeanor.
Ferguson is accused of telling a student who was praying Sept. 27 with a group of friends near the flagpole outside the school, “If I had an AK-47 with me, I would shoot you all.”
The students were participating in “See You at the Pole,” a prayer event held annually on the fourth Wednesday in September.
The next day, Ferguson reportedly approached the same student before a class and asked her if she was one of the girls who had been praying the day before.
When she said yes, he told her he was thinking about getting a gun and shooting them, according to court reports.
The girl told a counselor who contacted school officials.
Ferguson was arrested Friday at his home in Topaz Ranch Estates. According to court documents, he admitted making the threats but told authorities he was joking.
Ferguson appeared in East Fork Justice Court on Monday and acting Judge Paul Gilbert appointed Tod Young as his attorney.
Kelly Joseph Ferguson pleaded with Gilbert to release his son into his custody.
“He has no access to anything like what he said,” Kelly Ferguson said. “He’d been harassed and he was trying to get people to leave him alone. He is probably one of the gentlest people I know,” his father said.
Prosecutor Mike McCormick argued against lowering the bail.
“There were a bunch of students praying around the flagpole and he said he’d like to get a gun and shoot them. He said it two times,” McCormick said. “You hear about evidence like this every week.”
Gilbert said he was concerned for the safety of Ferguson and the community. The suspect is to appear in court today.
Kelly Ferguson told Gilbert he could have a courtroom full of character witnesses for his son. “He’s never been in trouble. He’s never had a fight. There are a lot of people that will show up to testify as to his character. I always get compliments on his manners,” he said.
DHS Principal Marty Swisher said he was required to protect Ferguson’s student rights and couldn’t comment on the allegations. “We’re not going to tolerate those kinds of threats and it’s not just because of recent events,” he said.
A gunman killed four girls Monday at an Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania before committing suicide. A week earlier, a similar tragedy occurred in Bailey, Colo.
As for Ferguson’s allegation of harassment, Swisher said, “We’re only as good as the information we have. If someone has a problem that they are being harassed and bullied, we will act on it. But it’s very difficult to deal with it if we don’t find out until it’s too late.”