Calgary Stampede threat nets jail time for Patrick Deegan

A Calgary man who threatened to shoot hundreds of people at the Calgary Stampede last summer has been handed a two-year jail sentence.

Calgary man also given 3 years probation and must get counselling

Patrick Deegan aims a long gun at a private range in Calgary in 2010. Deegan was sentenced in a Calgary courtroom today for threatening to kill hundreds of people at last year's Calgary Stampede. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

A Calgary man who threatened to shoot hundreds of people at the Calgary Stampede last summer has been handed a two-year jail sentence.

Patrick Deegan, 29, was also given three years probation and is to get counselling. With time served, he will be behind bars for roughly 10 months.

Patrick Deegan, 29, pleaded guilty in January to uttering death threats, possession of unauthorized firearms and two counts of breaching conditions.

Deegan pleaded guilty to uttering death threats, possession of unauthorized firearms and two counts of breaching conditions in January.

He made the threat in an email to the Calgary Fire department.

"There is going to be a machine gun attack at the Calgary Stampede this year," the email read. "Two MG-52s rated at 1800 rpm. There will be over 1,000+ casualties. These machine guns can fire 1,000 rounds before malfunction."

The email prompted a police investigation that led officers to search the homes and cars of Deegan's parents and girlfriend in June 2013.

Police found two improperly stored semi-automatic rifles and one hunting rifle at his parent's house.

At the time, Deegan was on a 12-month peace bond for a violent domestic incident. One of the conditions of the bond was that he wasn't allowed to purchase or possess firearms.

"I think the Crown's position, and certainly the judge's position as well, is that this wasn't a fanciful threat," said prosecutor Aurelie Beland. 

Threats taken seriously, says Crown

She said any threat of this nature has to be taken quite seriously in this day and age.

"He made the threat and he had the means to execute that threat," said Beland. "He had a number of firearms, one firearm particularly that could have been disassembled and brought to the Stampede to be readily used for executing those threats."

The prosecution had been asking for a sentence of three to five years in prison, saying the threatening email was an act of terror and intended to cause fear. The defence had asked for probation.

Defence lawyer Greg Dunn said it appears the judge ruled somewhere in between.

"We didn't get what we wanted but at the same time the Crown didn't get what they wanted," he said.

Dunn said his client was stressed out and drinking heavily at the time of the incident.

"So it was something that he did that was stupid. It was not thought out," he said. "It was something that was impulsive and he's really paid the price for his impetuousness today."

Dunn says his client is struggling with many different emotions after the verdict.

"He's struggling with the issue of being incarcerated. He's struggling with the issue that he has a wife and young child he has to leave for probably about 10 months," he said. "He's struggling with the fact that he's caused his family grief and some embarrassment."