AKRON — A federal grand jury has indicted a Cleveland man on two counts of felony attempted kidnapping in connection with allegations that he was plotting to abduct and possibly kill Cuyahoga Valley National Park rangers, according to court records.
The indictment was filed Wednesday in the U.S. Sixth District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
Cuyahoga Falls police, with the FBI present, arrested Christian S. Ferguson, 20, in a parking lot in the park off Truxell Road in Peninsula on May 8.
"We were happy to assist the FBI with this case, especially due to the seriousness of the threats," said Cuyahoga Falls Police Chief Jack Davis. "The Cuyahoga Falls Police Department members have always enjoyed a great working relationship with the local agents, and this was yet another opportunity for local and federal law enforcement to work together."
In a criminal complaint filed with the court, the FBI alleged that Ferguson was in the park to scout it as a location to lure rangers with a hoax domestic violence call and then ambush them.
Ferguson’s attorney was not immediately available for comment.
According to the complaint, Ferguson allegedly made violent and extremist online postings over the course of several weeks. The FBI became aware of them and began an investigation after receiving a tip in early April.
In these postings, Ferguson allegedly expressed a specific interest in attacking federal law enforcement officers because he believed they had better quality firearms and body armor to steal. He also allegedly made statements suggesting the plan could include killing law enforcement officers and that he was forming or planned to form a militia group, according to the complaint.
Following online conversations in a chatroom, Ferguson allegedly met several times with two individuals who were planted by the FBI, which was able to record conversations.
He is scheduled for arraignment before Magistrate Judge Kathleen B. Burke in Akron on June 1 at 10 a.m.
Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, email@example.com or @JeffSaunders_RP.