BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – An anti-violence activist caught carrying a firearm into an elementary school in February has been given a conditional discharge.
A judge says if Dwayne Ferguson completes 100 hours of community service and stays out of trouble, he will not face more serious charges possessing a firearm on schools grounds.
Last February, Ferguson sparked a scare at Harvey Austin Elementary School when a man noticed his weapon and called police. Students were held on lockdown for around three hours while police swept the school. It was during a second search that Ferguson was found with a weapon.
“Emotions and tensions were running high and everyone was concerned about preventing a mass shooting on school property,” said Ferguson’s attorney Joseph Agro. “In the midst of it all his main concern was to protect the kids and he didn’t even think that they were there to look for him.”
Ferguson has worked with inner city youth for years and was in the building for an after school program. Agro says Ferguson always carries his gun.
“Hundreds if not thousands of young men he has assisted in this community over a 20-year period. You have a guy here who’s dedicated his life to this community and made a mistake. He completely owns up to it and accepts full responsibility,” said Agro.
Ferguson is the president of MAD DADS and a volunteer with Buffalo Peacemakers. He’s fought to reduce violence in Buffalo. He actually told police during the secondary search that he had his weapon on him.
When News 4 interviewed him in February, Ferguson said, “Before everybody was getting searched to go get on the bus, I told a couple officers. I told them I did have one on me at that time. I’m licensed to carry and I did have one. I didn’t know what happened or what was going on because I asked them what did the young man have on, what did the man wear, what was the description, but nobody could tell me anything at that time. They weren’t looking for me because I was in the building earlier.”
Ferguson pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon. He then asked for leniency.
“I’m still on the street doing what I’m doing at funerals, football games, making sure these young men and young ladies continue on making sure they have a better life than what I do,” said Ferguson.
The judge took that into consideration and sentenced Ferguson to a conditional discharge with 100 hours of community service.
“I haven’t stopped since the situation happened. I will continue on now since this is over with,” said Ferguson.
The community activist could have faced up to four years in prison.