Dwayne Feguson, arrested for bringing a gun to Harvey Austin School, is a well-known community activist.
Dwayne Ferguson spent more than a decade advocating for nonviolence and peace in the streets of Buffalo.
He was a well-known face in the movement for the SAFE Act, the state law that made carrying a gun on school property a felony. He was also a familiar presence in the hallways of the city’s Harvey Austin Elementary School, where he worked in the after-school program and mentored students.
No one imagined that on Thursday he would show up at the school in possession of a gun, touching off an hours-long lockdown, search and ultimately his arrest on two felony charges.
Ferguson, 52, told WGRZ-TV that he frequently carries the gun, for which he has a permit, and did not realize he had it on him when he went to the school as part of the mentoring program.
Those who have worked with him also said they believe it was an honest mistake.
“I’m sure Dwayne went into the school not thinking he had the gun on him,” said Rev. James E. Giles, a friend of Ferguson and president of Back to Basics Outreach Ministries. “We know this for a fact, that he called out to a Buffalo police lieutenant asking why the school was in lockdown, and that they were looking for a man with a gun.