CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A man with a gun who threatened to "take care of business" at a local high school last year has been sentenced to probation.
Russell Elswick, 53, of Clendenin, spent 135 days in jail after he was arrested on the grounds of Herbert Hoover High School Nov. 14.
Police said Elswick approached a custodian at the school in the early morning hours, prior to students' arrival, armed with a shotgun. The custodian notified police, who apprehended him in his car near the football field.
Elswick told officers he believed there were federal agents being held hostage at the school.
Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster sentenced Elswick to two years probation, saying the incident was sparked by delusions suffered as a result of a head injury.
She said she didn't believe he was now a danger to the community, but recommended he get treatment for mental health and drug issues.
"The most I can hope for is you are going to act responsibly," Webster told Elswick Wednesday. "And you can access health care.
"There is no evidence you are an immediate threat to yourself or others," the judge said.
But Webster said the incident rightfully generated serious action from police and prosecutors.
"There's no evidence you intended to injure anybody," she said. "But you had an unloaded gun, and officers absolutely thought you were going to do that.
"Are you likely to commit another crime?" she said. "You have no history of violence and you've had clean drug screens. But I do have concerns about your brain injury."
Elswick was seriously injured in a four-wheeler accident not long before the Herbert Hoover incident. He told the judge he had been a drug addict, but was not under the influence of drugs that day.
"I was on my way to McDonalds," he said. "I got dizzy and a real bad headache and pulled off there. I'm sorry for what I did, but I can't tell you why I did it."
Webster said, "The incident was serious and could have had a different outcome. You were viewed as a serious threat. You could have been shot and killed.
"The incident itself is the type that scares communities to death," the judge said.
Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at cher...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4832.