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Investigators: Ohio man planned to kidnap, kill LEOs

The suspect allegedly planned to ambush park rangers and take their firearms and body armor

Associated Press

CLEVELAND — A Cleveland man has been accused of trying to orchestrate the kidnapping and killing of federal law enforcement officers, the Department of Justice announced.

Christian Stanley Ferguson, 20, was the subject of a two-count indictment charging him with attempted kidnapping. Ferguson was taken into custody May 8 after he plotted an ambush of park rangers responding to a fake distress call, according to the indictment.

“Christian Ferguson was actively planning to ambush, kidnap, and even kill law enforcement officers in order to carry out his plot of a violent uprising,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “We must demonstrate that these types of threats to law enforcement or to commit such heinous acts of violence in our community will not be tolerated.”

Ferguson posted extremist content on social media, often discussing his desire to call police to report a fake crime, according to the criminal complaint. He said he wanted to ambush federal law enforcement because he believed they had better guns and body armor to steal, the complaint further added.

The 20-year-old also discussed ways to kill multiple targets and dispose of their bodies, the Department of Justice said. The goal was to ambush law enforcement, kill them, steal their weapons and kick-start a violent uprising, the criminal complaint stated.

“Christian Ferguson’s primary mission was to kill as many law enforcement personnel as he could, an unfathomable concept. Thanks to the public for advising the FBI of the hateful and violent feelings Ferguson held for law enforcement,” said FBI Cleveland Special Agent in Charge Eric Smith.

Ferguson posted in a chatroom, which he controlled, and met with other people to discuss his plans, the criminal complaint said. He then ran “practice drills” with an AR-15 rifle and did reconnaissance on a dry run, the Department of Justice said.

Ultimately, Ferguson put together a fake distress call in a National Park, to gauge the response time of Park Rangers. He watched four federal officers arrive to the scene and then said if that many officers showed up to his actual ambush, he’d have to kill them all, the criminal complaint said.

However, law enforcement took Ferguson into custody without incident. He is currently in federal custody.