Man charged for State Fair Community College incident

Democrat Staff


Democrat Staff


Charges have been filed against a man arrested for an incident at State Fair Community College that prompted school officials to place a building on lockdown.

According to court documents, Gary Alan Black, 28, of Warsaw, has been charged with making a terrorist threat with reckless disregard of risk causing evacuation or closure of a building, unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest.

Black was issued a $5,000 bond, cash or surety. According to, Black is not allowed to enter SFCC property, per the bond agreement. $5,000 surety was posted Monday through Shannon Zerilli Bonding. An arraignment has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19. Online court records do not list an attorney for Black.

According to court documents, Pettis County Sheriff’s Office Deputy David Hockaday was on duty Friday as the Campus Resource Deputy at SFCC when he was advised around 2 p.m. by campus officials to respond to the Hopkins Student Center for an unknown emergency.

Dr. Joe Gilgore, dean of student and academic support services at SFCC, told the Democrat Friday that an employee of the college noticed a student who was exhibiting signs of “odd” behavior and appeared to be holding a weapon. Gilgore then notified Hockaday.

Upon arrival to the area, Hockaday stated he saw a subject in front of the building standing by a car with a weapon or rifle, prompting Hockaday to request additional units through Pettis County dispatch.

Hockaday reported seeing three subjects — two male and one female — as he approached the vehicle, with Black pacing back and forth quickly while holding a weapon, according to court documents. Hockaday drew his own weapon and told Black to drop the weapon, which he did not do. Black continued to hold the weapon and wave it around while refusing to drop it and telling Hockaday it was a “toy Airsoft rifle.”

“I could see the tip of the rifle was orange, however I am aware of national intelligence reports about various criminals painting the tips of real weapons orange so they can pass it off as a toy gun and be able to engage law enforcement officers who may drop their guard believing it was a toy,” Hockaday wrote in the probable cause statement.

Black eventually dropped the weapon and no shots were fired from either party, however Black continued to not comply with Hockaday’s commands when asked to get on the ground and put his arms out to be arrested. Once an additional deputy arrived on scene, the two deputies placed Black under arrest and he was taken to the Pettis County Jail.

“… When I arrived outside I saw Officer Hockaday with his gun drawn while he was attempting to have the suspect drop his weapon,” Gilgore said Friday. “The man was arguing with Officer Hockaday and the other officers who had arrived on the scene.”

Gilgore added that Hopkins was the only building on lockdown Friday and that the incident “was over in a matter of minutes.”

According to court documents, Hockaday reported that upon inspection once Black was arrested, the weapon was an Airsoft pellet gun but “in all other respects was an almost exact match to a real weapon.”

During the investigation, information came to light that Black had met with the male subject to have him arrange for a woman — the female subject — to have sex with Black. Court documents state that while at the college, Black said he had been “shortchanged on his money from the transaction or they had taken his money from the vehicle. This was the reason for Black grabbing the weapon and confronting (the subjects).”

Several witnesses said they saw Black obtain the weapon from the trunk of the car and place it in the front seat, and he was also seen appearing to load it.

A charge of solicitation of prostitution was requested, however no such charge has been filed against Black. There have not been any charges filed against the two other subjects.

Black, who has enrolled as a student at SFCC for the spring semester, has only minor previous charges, including possession of a controlled substance charges in 2006 and 2010.

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