Workers at a Pasadena machine shop say they heard a co-worker threaten to “shoot this whole place up.”

Whether Mark Edward Rutkowski made a threat of mass violence will be a decision for the court system. He’s been charged with the misdemeanor offense and faces both years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines if convicted.

What happened this week in Anne Arundel County, though, is proof that changes in Maryland’s laws on making threats of mass violence and extreme risk protection orders were positive steps toward preventing more mass shootings.

Co-workers at Gischel Machine Shop did exactly the right thing after Rutkowski made threatening comments and was fired. They went to police.

Five days later, Anne Arundel County police served Rutkowski an extreme risk protection order, authorized under Maryland’s so-called red flag law and issued by a judge convinced of a potential danger. Officers took away Rutkowski’s guns and those of his father, a gun collector. The arsenal in the house totaled 146 guns — among them an AK-47 variant.

Did co-workers, police and the courts just prevent a mass shooting?

Rutkowski says that was never his intent.

“I was just kidding,” he told a judge Wednesday in his bail review hearing.

Co-workers aren’t laughing. Neither are prosecutors. They say Rutkowski spelled out not only whom he planned to kill, but in what order.

This arrest is the result of a change approved this year by Maryland lawmakers. The revised law eliminated the need to investigate a threat’s potential danger and handed police and prosecutors power to bring charges if a threat would immediately put five or more people at substantial risk.

This is an important distinction. It made it easier for police to charge Rutkowski. He made threatening statements, and he had access to guns capable of killing everyone in that shop.

In July, the U.S. Secret Service released a report on mass shootings that found most men responsible for mass attacks in the United States in 2018 made threats. Two-thirds of the attackers also had a history of mental health issues and half were motivated by workplace or personal grievances, the agency said in a report published by its National Threat Assessment Center.

The Secret Service studied 27 incidents where a total of 91 people were killed and 107 more injured in public spaces in 2018. Among them: the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed, the attack on the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis where five were killed and the fatal attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Would the police have been unable to arrest Rutkowski

under the old language governing threats of mass violence? He says he was only kidding. Probably not.

Nor is it clear that police would have been able to take the arsenal in the Rutkowski home without Maryland’s red flag law.

Rutkowski will have his day in court. We hope he has a good lawyer. His father will get his guns back in good time.

No one can say for sure what would have happened without these laws.

We can say for certain they worked as intended.

Copyright 2019 Tribune Content Agency.

(36) comments

FCPS-Principal

Prosecution may be problematic. The SCOTUS ruled that advocating violence is free speech until such violence actually takes place. But that case revolved around advocating that others commit violence against the US government in general, not anyone in particular. It has always been a crime to threaten a person. The key will be to convince a jury this was a real threat or just a vent of frustration. Previous behavior will may prove motive. Certainly his guns gave him method and the extreme details of his plan discredits the "just kidding" statement. Whether he was 'just kidding' is unimportant. What matter is how he was perceived.

chesapeakecountry

A Maryland man was shot and killed while be served with "Red Flag" papers. He is the first of many more to come. I'm sure the FNP is still applauding this legislation.

phydeaux994

The man being served was shot and killed? By who? Why??

DickD

https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2018/11/05/fatal-officer-involved-shooting-in-anne-arundel-county/ Maryland’s ‘Red Flag’ Law Turns Deadly: Officer Kills Man Who Refused To Turn In Gun By Kimberly EitenNovember 5, 2018 at 11:00 pm FERNADALE, Md. (WJZ) — A 61-year-old man is dead after he was shot by an officer trying to enforce Maryland’s new ‘red flag’ law in Ferndale Monday morning.Anne Arundel County Police confirmed the police-involved shooting happened in the 100 block of Linwood Avenue around 5:17 a.m. According to police, two officers serving a new Extreme Risk Protective Order (Red Flag Law), a Maryland protective order to remove guns from a household, shot and killed the man listed on that order.“Under the law, family, police, mental health professionals can all ask for the protective orders to remove weapons,” said Sgt. Jacklyn David, with Anne Arundel County Police.That man was identified as Gary J. Willis of same address.Officials said Willis answered the door while holding a handgun.Willis then placed the gun next to the door.When officers began to serve him the order, Willis became irate and grabbed his gun.One of the officers tried to take the gun from Willis, but instead Willis fired the gun.The second officer fired a gun, striking Willis. He died at the scene 

DickD

146 guns in one house? Do the father and son live in the same house? If not why take the father's guns.

Dwasserba

I'm assuming same house.

phydeaux994

Why would they have to live in the same house for him to have easy access to his Fathers guns?

DickD

Probably wouldn't but if they don't live in the same house they are not as accessible. And the father does have rights too, he was not convicted of anything.

FCPS-Principal

The issue is access, not who owns them.

DickD

Yes, but if it is access, the judge would have to include the father in the order to remove guns.

chesapeakecountry

How will this keep him from gaining access to any other gun for sell on the street or belonging to a friend, etc.?

FCPS-Principal

In red states, nothing.

gabrielshorn2013

Let's be fair FAUX, it is easier to get a black market pistol in blue states than it is to get a legal pistol. All purchases must follow Federal law found in 18 USC 922 in all states. Chessie's question stands.

phydeaux994

An illegal gun?? gab says you can’t, they’re illegal. 🤣😹

gabrielshorn2013

You can mischaracterize and spin my words any way you want phy, but that is not what I said at all, and you know it. [beam][beam][beam]. I am shocked that you don't understand that criminals don't care about following the law, and that they will get firearms any way they can. I have stated this often, and even provided you with the laws that they break on a regular basis. You then say the laws don't work, and we need new ones. I point out that they would work, but they aren't being enforced, and prosecuted. I provided evidence regarding Baltimore, whose mayor, and our Governor say the same thing, complaining about the Judicial system. I even provided a link to the WaPo column by Colbert King describing how the DC government now under-prosecutes violent felonies, and those perps then still have access to guns. You still say the laws don't work, and that we need more, regardless of how effective they would be. Here is a scenario for you that should not be too unreasonable for you to ponder. The speed limit is 70 mph on I-70 coming into Frederick. There are troopers parked on the side of the road with radar. The several vehicles go past the Trooper at 90 mph, but the troopers repeatedly do nothing. The word gets out that the troopers will not pull you over for doing 90, so many more people do 90, which leads to many fatal crashes. The public is outraged, and demands that the speed limit be lowered to 50 mph coming into Frederick because of the fatal crashes. So, did the law fail in this case, or did lack of enforcement cause the problem? It is clearly the latter.

FCPS-Principal

Because a dangerous man with access to them all just threatened to use any number of them to shoot up his workplace.

DickD

There are some things that you don't joke about this is one of them.

secpol1970

I guess due process just went out the window. Oh and "Russian" lets target anyone you disagree with huh?

marinick1

[thumbup]

phydeaux994

It sure did secpol. On January 20, 2017. When Trump got Executive Powers the Constitution became null and void. “I can do anything I want as President”...DJT, July 23, 2019

gabrielshorn2013

[offtopic][spam]

phydeaux994

I thought you said you don’t get ANGRY gab. Those two faces up there ain’t smilin’. I don’t understand why I get under your skin all the time. I was just agreeing with secpol about due process going out the window recently. What’s Off Topic about that? This is the FNP “OPINION” Forum. I state my opinion and the reasons why. You say a lot of things that are just not Fact gab. And I refute them. That’s ok in my America but evidently not yours. Plus, I don’t get mad. 🆗❓Peace.

gabrielshorn2013

Not under my skin at all, and I'm certainly not angry. They dont offer a neutral or smiley off topic or spam emojis. I had to use what they gave me. This story had nothing to do with trump, hence the emojis.

secpol1970

You mean like traitor 44 "I have a phone and a pen."?

DickD

There was due process, sep; "Five days later, Anne Arundel County police served Rutkowski an extreme risk protection order, authorized under Maryland’s so-called red flag law and issued by a judge convinced of a potential danger."

gabrielshorn2013

Secpol, I doubt there are any regular contributors to this space who do not understand that I am a staunch supporter of the 2A. However, the behavior that Mr. Rutkowski exhibited was the exact same behavior that the shooters in Dayton, El Paso, MSHS, and others exhibited, and look at the consequences of "ignoring" that behavior. In the El Paso case, that nuts mother even called law enforcement to warn them of what he was about to do. We all have freedom of speech guaranteed by the 1A, but try joking about hijacking or bombs at an airport. You'll be sitting in a Homeland Security office for days, having your home raided, and undergo a psychological exam of epic proportions of everything you have ever done in your entire life. We are now at that point for mass shootings. It is no longer a joke, and those that think it is will suffer the same consequences. You will note that it took days to seize his firearms. That tells me the behind the scenes proctology exam was happening, and that a judge agreed that there was probable cause to believe that he was a serious risk ov violence. Although it may be argued that this a scene from the movie "The Minority Report ", we are still a long way from that. I do find it concerning that his father's firearms were confiscated, especially if they lived in separate houses. The father will undoubtedly get his firearms back, as long as he doesn't do something stupid. To me, the red flag laws are OK, IF AND ONLY IF due process is followed, and there is a serious penalty for making spurious claims to prevent mischief.

Russian

Racial extremists should be red flagged and precluded from possessing firearms.

rikkitikkitavvi

Who defines extremist?

marinick1

[thumbup]

phydeaux994

Me. And you fit the description rikkitikkitavvi.

DickD

Ah............., you beat me to it, phy![thumbup]

rikkitikkitavvi

Opposite ends of the spectrum.

secpol1970

Nah he's a loony socialist like you. Nice try.

phydeaux994

secpol, what does a Socialist look like. You wouldn’t know one if you tripped over one. What is your Political Brand? Trumpalist? Liaralist? Golferalist? Sharpiealist? Sheepalist? Twitteralist?

FCPS-Principal

That would deny guns to every Republican in the country.

DickD

Might cause them to change parties to Democrat.

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