Cleveland man convicted of attempted kidnapping in alleged ambush plot


CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man has been convicted in an alleged plot to ambush and kidnap law enforcement officers responding to a false distress call.

A federal jury on Friday convicted 21-year-old Christian Ferguson of Cleveland of two counts of attempted kidnapping.

Ferguson was arrested in May 2020 after authorities alleged that he made “violent and extremist” posts in a chat room and spoke of making a false emergency call to lure officers to a “remote location” and take their weapons and body armor. Authorities alleged that his ultimate goal was to “start an uprising.”

Prosecutors alleged that Ferguson and two informants met in Cuyahoga Valley National Park for a “dry run,” FBI authorities said in court documents. They hiked and talked about the plan, then placed a 911 call to determine police response, watching four officers respond and later return to their cars, authorities alleged.

Bridget M. Brennan, acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, said those who reported the alleged plan and the agents who worked to prevent it “should be commended” for their actions. “Lives were saved,” Brennan said in a statement.

Defense attorney John Ricotta said in court documents that “the majority of the ideas originated with the informants,” reported. He said his client “was susceptible to such influence based upon his age and a lifelong obsession with being a member of the armed forces.”

Ricotta asked as the case was pending that his client be able to get counseling and mental-health assistance.

Ferguson is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 27.

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