Prosecutors on Tuesday charged Samuel McCrory with criminal threat for suggesting an attack on the Sedgwick County Courthouse last week and with nine counts of unlawfully carrying a firearm — with some of the accusations linked to public sightings of McCrory carrying an assault rifle in downtown Wichita over the past year.
Following his arrest in connection with threats against the courthouse made on Facebook, local authorities discovered McCrory, 22, had a juvenile felony conviction from Rice County in 2008, which carries with it a 10-year ban on possessing a gun. McCrory has been seen multiple times since July 1, 2014, toting a rifle, a handgun and an ax tucked into his waistband at protests and other events around Wichita, prompting complaints to law enforcement.
Authorities had told callers McCrory was exercising his right to openly carry his weapon.
But the juvenile conviction meant he was actually breaking the law, Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter told The Eagle last week.
Six of the charges for criminal possession of a firearm stem from the public sightings, Sedgwick County District Court Judge Joe Kisner told McCrory at his first appearance in court Tuesday afternoon.
The other three are linked to the handgun found in his waistband when he was arrested by deputies Thursday and the shotgun and rifle found at his home, according to information from law enforcement and court records.
In the criminal threat count, he is accused of “unlawfully threaten(ing) to commit violence” against sheriff’s deputies and other courthouse security and personnel “with the intent to place another in fear,” according to the criminal complaint filed in the case. The threats — including asking whether it was “out of line to storm the courthouse” and saying “the only way to defend yourself from a cop is to kill the cop” — were posted on social media July 29.
McCrory, who appeared in court over closed-circuit television link from the courtroom to the jail, looked surprised then confused when the judge told him the number of counts of criminally possessing a firearm he is facing.
“I understand the criminal threat and the first three counts of felony possession of a firearm,” he told the Kisner. “But I don’t understand the rest.”
The judge, in response, explained what prompted the remainder of the charges:
▪ On July 27, a man reported seeing McCrory wearing his handgun outside of the Sedgwick County Courthouse during a protest of Kyler Carriker’s felony murder trial. He was told “to put the weapon away and leave the protest.”
▪ On June 2, McCrory was seen at a protest at a plaza in Wichita’s Old Town entertainment district carrying a rifle.
▪ On May 16, Sheriff Easter saw McCrory carrying a rifle and walking near Central and Main. Easter was attending the law enforcement memorial parade.
▪ On Dec. 22, 2014, a person reported seeing McCrory walking around Bradley Fair, at 21st and Rock Road, while carrying a rifle.
▪ On Dec. 11, 2014, McCrory was seen protesting near Broadway and Douglas carrying an AR-15-style rifle.
▪ On July 5, 2014, McCrory was seen near Central and Ridge Road protesting and carrying a rifle.
McCrory was arrested at an apartment complex at 2323 N. Woodlawn after authorities were alerted to the threats. The social media posts were linked to Carriker’s trial.
Rice County District Court records show McCrory was convicted of aggravated battery in an attack on his mother when he was 15. He also has two misdemeanor battery convictions for assaults against his mother in January and March 2008 when he was 14, and was charged with the same in a pair of cases from 2004 and 2005 when he was 11 and 12 years old.
McCrory is being held in Sedgwick County Jail on $200,000 bond. His next court date is Aug. 18.
At the end of his hearing Tuesday, McCrory asked to address the court. “I just wanted to apologize,” he said. “I never meant to scare anybody.”