A well-known gun safety activist was arrested yesterday after actually carrying a loaded gun at an elementary school where he was leading a program.
Dwayne Ferguson, 52, was mentoring students at Harvey Austin Elementary School when the school was suddenly placed on lockdown. A confused Ferguson called Buffalo, New York police to ask why the school was on lockdown, and they told him that there were reports of a person with a gun on the campus.
The school was shut down for hours as authorities swept through, searched for a gunman, and tried to get students off the property as soon as they knew it was safe. The entire ordeal lasted hours as terrified parents were forced to stand by, helplessly thinking their children were in danger.
After hours of searching, authorities discovered that Ferguson was actually the gunman they were looking for. As it turns out, the gun safety activist, who is well respected in the local community, was carrying a gun on him but didn’t realize it. Ferguson had a permit to carry a gun, but because he had it on school property, he was arrested and charged with two felonies. He says that he honestly didn’t realize that he was still carrying the gun when he went to the school to mentor.
“I’m sure Dwayne went into the school not thinking he had the gun on him,” said Rev. James E. Giles, a friend of Ferguson’s. “We know this for a fact, that he called out to a Buffalo police lieutenant asking why the school was in lockdown, and that they were looking for a man with a gun. Dwayne’s reaction was to get his kids, he had about 50 of them, and make sure they were safe. He led them into the cafeteria and closed the doors.”
“Mental lapses happen,” continued Giles. “Things happen. It’s an unfortunate mistake. Dwayne was not conscious that he was in school with a gun.”
Ferguson reportedly has a good relationship with local police and has been active in the Buffalo area for years, working hard to fight violence and drugs in the community. He is currently the president of MAD DADs, Men Against Destruction Defending Against Drugs and Social Disorder, and has even fought to have legislation passed making it illegal for anybody to carry a gun on school property. Ironically, Ferguson was arrested and charged under the very same law that he fought to pass.
Superintendent Kevin Brinkworth said that Ferguson had no bad intentions and probably just made a terrible mistake, but said they are still trying to figure out exactly what happened.
“I will say he had no ill intent to harm these students,” said Brinkworth. “I don’t know why he had it on him.”
The events are currently being investigated, and the school’s emergency response system is also being looked at following the ordeal.