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Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Former security guard - Revenge
Number of victims: 5
Date of murders: September 8, 2001
Date of birth: 1981
Victims profile: George Bernardino, 48; Marsha Jackson, 32; Nina Susu, 20, former girlfriend, and Nikolay Popovich (former co-workers); and John Derek Glimstad, 19 (park employee)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Status: Committed suicide by shooting himself after a high-speed chase and police shootout on September 10, 2001

Joseph Ferguson, a 21-year-old Burns International Security guard, killed five people and wounded two more before shooting himself to death during a 24-hour rampage starting on Sept. 8, 2001. He shot himself to death the next day after being cornered by authorities in Sacramento.

Killed were four people who worked at Burns Security: George Bernardino, 48; Marsha Jackson, 32; Nina Susu, a 20-year-old former girlfriend, and Nikolay Popovich. Ferguson also killed Miller Park marina employee John Derek Glimstad.


Joseph Ferguson

On September 9, 2001, Sacramento police launched a nationwide manhunt for former security guard Joseph Ferguson after he shot and killed three former co-workers and a park employee.

Ferguson, 20, was allegedly despondent over breaking up with his girlfriend, 20-year-old Nina Susu, and being suspended from his job for vandalizing Susu's car. The heavily armed suspect then made several cell phone calls to Burns Security employees saying he was going to Old Sacramento, a downtown entertainment district, were he was going to kill more people than fellow Sacramento rampager, Nikolay Soltys.

According to Authorities, Ferguson began killing people because he was despondent over getting suspended from his supervisor's job at Burns Security a week earlier.

Burns officials said Ferguson was suspended after his ex-girlfriend, fellow security guard Nina Susu, said he vandalized her car after their breakup. The officials also notified the FBI that Ferguson might be dangerous because he made threats after the suspension. An FBI check revealed Ferguson had no history of violence and nothing was done.

Susu and Marsha Jackson, a 32-year-old single mother of three, were the first to die. They were shot as they worked at a city maintenance yard. Then Ferguson headed to a city-run marina where he shot and killed 48-year-old George Bernardino, another Burns employee, and 19-year-old John Glimstad, who just started working for the marina. All four vicitms were unarmed and riddled with gunshot wounds.

Police found AK-47 rounds, shotgun rounds and 9 mm handgun shells at the crime scenes. Police found a handgun at the first shooting scene and recovered an assault weapon at the marina. Ferguson then headed to the Sacramento Zoo where he handcuffed another former co-worker to a tree and fled in her car. Police Chief Arturo Venegas Jr. said the woman was spared because "he thought she was just a nice person."

Police searched the south Sacramento house where Ferguson had been living with his father and brother and found a cache of weapons, including two shotguns, two assault rifles, two revolvers, a ballistic helmet, a flak jacket and a gas mask. They also discovered an undisclosed assortment of white supremacist paraphernalia.

As Sacramento authorities frantically searched for rampaging killer Joseph Ferguson, police and Burns officials evacuated employees from their homes and escorted them to safe houses. However Ferguson did appear in the home of a Burns supervisor who had not been evacuated where he filmed a video suicide note before killing the supervisor and stealing his car. In the video, Ferguson said he would soon kill himself. "I've taken four victims, this should be good enough to last about a week on the news. It's time to feed the news media."

After disappearing all day, Ferguson was spotted by a highway patrolman at 11:30 p.m., triggering a 40-minute high-speed chase through suburban Sacramento. Ferguson fired more than 200 rounds at the pursuing officers before smashing his car into a light pole. The lovestruck killer then committed suicide inside the stolen car.

In the video Ferguson bragged about putting on "a hell of a show," adding, unambiguously, "I giveth and I taketh away, that's how it goes in fucking life."


Cops: suspect complained 4 dead was not enough

The Times Union (Albany, NY)

September 10, 2001

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Police said a disgruntled former security guard accused of killing four people made cellphone calls during the rampage and said he wanted to commit a crime bloodier than the slayings of seven people in the city last month. Joseph Ferguson said in the calls "he was going to outdo (Nikolay) Soltys, something along those lines," said Sacramento Police spokesman Sgt. Daniel Hahn. Police believe Ferguson, 20, shot and killed three unarmed former co-workers and a fourth man.


Sacramento man sought in 4 slayings

Heavily armed ex-security guard is believed to have shot former co-workers

The Washington Post

September 10, 2001

For the second time in a month, this city's police force has launched a manhunt for a suspect in a mass murder, warning those with links to the suspect that they, too, could be targets. Police believe former security guard Joseph Ferguson, 20, of Sacramento, shot and killed three unarmed former co-workers and a fourth man Saturday night, then handcuffed another guard and fled in her car. Ferguson was believed to be heavily armed and possibly wearing a bulletproof vest, said Sacramento police.


Suspect in 5 slayings dead after shootout

The Sacramento Bee

September 10, 2001

A 20-year-old security guard who went on a 24-hour rampage that left at least five people dead and two others wounded shot himself to death early Monday after being cornered by authorities near Folsom Boulevard and Zinfandel Drive.

Joseph Ferguson, the subject of a huge manhunt after four shootings Saturday in Sacramento, was found dead inside a stolen car shortly after midnight and following a gunbattle with pursuing officers. His death came within minutes of him wounding a California Highway Patrol officer twice in the arm and critically wounding a motorist nearby.


Gunman wounds 2 more, kills self after police chase

The Record (New Jersey)

September 11, 2001

A former security guard wanted in the slayings of five people shot himself to death after a high-speed chase and police shootout Monday, capping a weekend of violence that followed another Sacramento rampage three weeks ago. Joseph Ferguson, 20, killed himself in a stolen car after leading officers on a 40-minute chase through suburban Rancho Cordova, shooting an officer and a bystander during the pursuit, said Sacramento County Sheriff's Capt. John McGinness.


Shooter was 'one of those loner kids'

The Cincinnati Post (OH)

September 11, 2001

His mother is in prison for molesting him, his father has reportedly dug a bunker under their house for weapons practice and, according to his uncle, he thought Charles Manson was a good guy. It would be an understatement to say Joseph Ferguson, who was a suspect in five killings and who apparently killed himself Monday, was seen as a troubled young man. "He's lost," said Ned Cullar, Ferguson's uncle. "You look at him and you want to cry." "He didn't talk to that many people," said a woman.


Mass killer left video, boasting of his rampage

Watertown Daily Times (NY)

September 11, 2001

Hours before he killed his last victim and then shot himself, former security guard Joseph Ferguson bragged in a self-made videotape that he "put on a hell of a show" during his weekend rampage that left six people dead, including himself. "I've taken four victims," he told the video camera before slaying former Burns International Security co-worker Nikolay P. Popovich. Ferguson held Popovich and Popovich's family hostage in their home for several hours Sunday.


Four Killed In Shooting Rampage

Manhunt Under Way For Suspected Gunman

SACRAMENTO -- Police say a disgruntled former security guard accused of killing four people Saturday said in cell phone calls during his alleged rampage that he wanted to commit a crime even bloodier than the slayings of seven people here last month.

Joseph Ferguson said "he was going to outdo (Nikolay) Soltys, something along those lines," said Sacramento Police spokesman Sgt. Daniel Hahn.

 Police believe disgruntled former security guard Joseph Ferguson, 20, of Sacramento, shot and killed three unarmed ex-coworkers and a fourth man Saturday night, then handcuffed another guard and fled in her car. They also said he made a number of cell phone calls during his alleged rampage, and were checking out a claim Sunday that he shot a person in a gold van.

Ferguson remained at large Sunday and was believed to be heavily armed and possibly wearing a bulletproof vest, Hahn said. During a press conference Sunday afternoon, Sacramento Mayor Heather Fargo said there was a $120,000 reward for information leading to Ferguson's capture.

The hunt for Ferguson comes three weeks after Soltys allegedly slashed his pregnant wife's throat, then killed his aunt and uncle and their two 9-year-old grandchildren in Sacramento area. Authorities say he fled with his son, who was found dead in a cardboard box a day later.

In Soltys' case, police had warned the Ukrainian community and Soltys' family that he could be targeting them. He did not harm any more members of his family before he was caught and charged with murder.

Ferguson lived with his father, who police do not believe is in any danger. But they were concerned for the safety of those Ferguson had contact with, namely, other employees of Burns Security, where he worked.

 "The people we believe are in immediate danger we have evacuated, so they're safe," Hahn said.

Police are checking out a report that one of the slain women at the equipment yard was Ferguson's ex-girlfriend; that woman's parents are under guard, Hahn said.

Police also are looking into reports that the woman may have warned the company that Ferguson was planning a rampage, Hahn said.

Ferguson was believed to be driving a dark green Toyota Tercel stolen from a former co-worker he left handcuffed to a tree but unharmed at the Sacramento Zoo about 1:30 a.m. Sunday, Hahn said.

About 11:20 p.m., police responding to a shots-fired call at a city equipment yard found two dead female Burns security guards in uniform. Police suspect Ferguson took a Burns Security vehicle from the yard and used it to crash through the gates of the zoo.

Police also found the bodies of two men at the Miller Park Marina about 10 miles north, immediately southwest of downtown. One of the men was a uniformed Burns guard, and the other was apparently a worker at the Marina, Hahn said.

All four victims were unarmed and riddled with gunshot wounds, Hahn said. Police found AK-47 rounds, shotgun rounds and 9 mm handgun shells at the crime scenes.

"At this time we don't know the motive for the shooting," Hahn said. "Obviously this person is probably not in a right frame of mind."

Ferguson was suspended for unknown reasons last week from his job with Burns Security, Hahn said. Police said he made a series of calls to former co-workers Saturday night threatening to kill them and club- and movie-goers in the city's busy Old Sacramento district.

Police were still trying to account for Burns employees Sunday morning, Hahn said.

Some businesses that use Burns Security, including the Crocker Art Museum, were shutting down Sunday to avoid any problems.

Ferguson's father told police "numerous weapons" were missing from the home, Hahn said.

Authorities continued to search for Ferguson Sunday. They identified him as a 6-foot 1-inch tall white male, about 150 pounds, with a shaved brown hair and blue eyes. He was wearing a black T-shirt and black fatigues during the alleged shootings and is believed armed with two 9 mm handguns, two rifles and a shotgun.

Ferguson's neighbors said they rarely saw the family, who lived in a one-story brick and stucco house with a painted owl on the peak of the roof and a high wooden fence topped by barbed wire. One sign on the fence read "Danger. This property protected by California Canine Security," and another sign had a picture of a Doberman pinscher on it and read "I can make it to the fence in 2.8 seconds. Can you?"

Next-door neighbor Will Cameron chatted occasionally with Ferguson's father, Tom, but said residents of the quiet, working-class street didn't talk to each other much. He said he had grown up near that area of Sacramento, and was "used to people getting shot."

"In today's age, it doesn't surprise me at all," he said. "It does kind of spook me out. I've never been this close before."

Lonnie Basped, who lives on the other side of the Ferguson house, said he was surprised by the news, and only saw the family when he was going to work in the morning, and that they usually cut their lawn around 6 a.m.

"It seems strange for things like that going on," he said. "It makes me think about keeping my family secluded."


Suspect in 5 slayings dead after shootout

A 20-year-old security guard who went on a 24-hour rampage that left at least five people dead and two others wounded shot himself to death early Monday after being cornered by authorities near Folsom Boulevard and Zinfandel Drive.

Joseph Ferguson, the subject of a huge manhunt after four shootings Saturday in Sacramento, was found dead inside a stolen car shortly after midnight and following a gunbattle with pursuing officers.

His death came within minutes of him wounding a California Highway Patrol officer twice in the arm and critically wounding a motorist nearby.

The final chapter of Ferguson’s brief, troubled life came after he had fled a home in the 3500 block of Scorpio Drive in Rancho Cordova, where he apparently had been hiding since early Sunday. Authorities believe he shot and killed a man living there about 9 p.m., then left the home with the man’s wife and dropped her off unharmed several miles away.

Ferguson gave her a videotape and fled in the couple’s car but was spotted within a few hours and shot the CHP officer in the 3300 block of Zinfandel Drive.

The name of the officer and the fifth victim had not been released earlier today, but officials said they believed Ferguson knew the slaying victim from working with him at Burns International Security.

Ferguson was cornered near a restaurant parking lot and opened fire with an automatic rifle, using a stolen car as a shield to reload clips.

“He was ripping off rounds,” said Damon Bobo, who watched the battle from a nearby hotel lobby.

After several minutes of loading clip after clip into his rifle, Ferguson got back into the front of his car and later was found with what appeared to be a self-inflicted wound.

His death ended a tense night for officials, who upon discovering the fifth body feared Ferguson would make good on threats to kill many others.

“This is your worst nightmare,” sheriff’s Capt. John McGinness said after the fifth body had been found.

Sheriff Lou Blanas had ordered all deputies to remain on duty through the night and to work in two-man teams.

“I want no one going out alone,” Blanas told officials.

Within an hour, authorities heard the report of an officer down and converged on a Jack in the Box restaurant at Zinfandel and Folsom.

Ferguson was believed to be armed with an automatic rifle and other weapons, but he shot himself to death at some point in the battle, officers said.

He remained inside his vehicle with his legs and feet, which were clad in black combat boots, sticking out a window without moving, until an armored police van inched up to the car and nudged it.

When he did not move, officers moved in on the car and discovered him dead.

Authorities said Ferguson apparently had taken the couple on Scorpio hostage early Sunday after the Saturday killing spree. They were tipped to his location after Ferguson allegedly shot the husband and then drove the woman several miles to Goethe Road, where he dropped her off unharmed with the videotape. Authorities did not disclose the contents of the tape.

The fifth victim was found 22 hours after Ferguson allegedly started a rampage sparked by a failed relationship and the imminent loss of his job as a security guard for Burns International Security.

Ferguson was suspected in the Saturday killings of three on-duty co-workers from Burns – including a former girlfriend – and a 19-year-old bystander. Another security guard was later found unharmed, handcuffed to a tree at the Sacramento Zoo.

Law enforcement officials had been visibly nervous about the prospect of Ferguson remaining at large, possibly with a huge cache of weapons, and noted that the manhunt evoked memories of the Nikolay Soltys case, in which six Soltys relatives, including his pregnant wife, were slain three weeks ago.

Authorities identified the dead from Saturday’s rampage as Burns employees George Nague Bernardino, 47; Marsha Jackson, 32 and a single mother of three; and Nina Susu, 22, who was believed to have been Ferguson’s ex-girlfriend.

Also killed was 19-year-old John Derek Glimstad, who worked at the Miller Park marina and had recently started the night shift there so he could take a morning tennis class.

During his rampage, sources said, Ferguson compared himself to Soltys and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. His background led authorities to conclude he is an extremely troubled young man.

Police searching the Meadowview area home he shared with his father and brothers Sunday found racist materials, including some from the World Church of the Creator. They also found a number of weapons and a makeshift bunker beneath the house that sources said may have been used for target practice.

The home’s back yard is surrounded by an 8-foot fence, with barbed wire on the top and floodlights around the perimeter. Doberman pinschers patrolled the yard Sunday.

Burns Security told all of its 150 guards scheduled to work Sunday to stay home, forcing the closure of the Crocker Art Museum and the Central Library.

“The fact of the matter is, city facilities are not the target here,” City Mangaer Bob Thomas said. “The target was Burns security officers. People should not feel unsafe in city facilities.”

Authorities had placed extra security around various sites, including synagogues. A $130,000 reward for Ferguson’s capture was being offered.

Ferguson had a roster of Burns Security officials and may have been targeting supervisors who had suspended him.

Law enforcement officials late Sunday questioned whether Burns employees should have been checked on to ensure their safety through the ordeal, but it was unclear whether Burns or other officials had done that.

The trouble began last week, sources said, when Ferguson and his girlfriend broke up and he attacked her car with an ax, leading to his suspension.

Burns officials contacted the FBI on Friday afternoon to discuss their concerns about Ferguson’s potential for violence, but officials could not say Sunday how far agents went toward responding to the call.

“He has been despondent after breaking up with his girlfriend,” Police Chief Arturo Venegas Jr. said Sunday afternoon at City Hall.

Sources said Ferguson spent hours Saturday practicing his marksmanship at an area shooting range.

The first attack came about 11:18 p.m. at the city’s corporation yard, 5730 24th St. Authorities believe Ferguson drove there in his El Camino and rammed a Burns security truck, which he later stole.

From there, police said, he went to the Burns Security building at the yards and shot Jackson and Susu. Police found a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol at that scene.

The security building there also is the Burns communications center for the area, and Ferguson left with a Burns cell phone and radio device that sources said he used to call other employees, threatening to shoot or kill them.

Ferguson made numerous threats about shooting patrons at nightclubs downtown and elsewhere, police said.

Half an hour later, police got a call of shots being fired at the city marina at Miller Park near the west end of Broadway. Officers found two men dead there of multiple gunshot wounds – Bernardino and Glimstad – and a jammed MAC-10 semiautomatic rifle.

From there, officials said, Ferguson drove the stolen truck to the Land Park Zoo, where he rammed through a rear gate and abducted another Burns Security guard, whom he left handcuffed to a tree.

That guard, Diana Phountz, already had been warned that Ferguson was roaming the area after getting a call on her cell phone-radio from her cousin, who also worked for Burns and knew of the killings.

“Get out of there,” he warned, but the line went dead.

An hour later, anxious relatives waiting for word heard the Burns radio crackle again with Phountz calling to say that she was alive but handcuffed to a tree at the zoo. As a police helicopter flew overhead, she used a flashlight to help them pinpoint her in the thickly planted zoo grounds.

Phountz remained out of sight Sunday for safety reasons, and several other potential targets – including the parents of Ferguson’s ex-girlfriend – were placed under police protection.

Sources said that during Phountz’s ordeal, Ferguson mentioned McVeigh, the executed bomber, and “the Russian,” an apparent reference to Ukrainian immigrant Soltys, who has been charged in seven slayings.

Ferguson disappeared after leaving the zoo in Phountz’s car, a 1992 green Toyota Tercel, which was found outside the Scorpio Drive house Sunday.

A neighbor on Scorpio Drive, Salvador Castro, 29, said he first spotted the Tercel at 7 a.m. Sunday parked on the street. At noon Sunday, Castro said he saw a man resembling Ferguson come out of the victim’s home and drive down the street, then turn around and return and go back inside.

All during the day, meanwhile, authorities were at Ferguson’s father’s home on Kirk Way, sifting through possible evidence.

Police kicked down the front door of the home early Sunday, searching for Ferguson, but officials said Ferguson’s father, Tom, was cooperating with the investigation.

Ferguson comes from an extremely troubled background. His mother is serving a 14-year jail sentence for molesting him and one other boy. Neighbors described Ferguson and his family as being largely anti-social and expressing racist beliefs, at times.

"It doesn't surprise me,” Ferguson’s uncle, Ned P. Cullar, said when he learned of the shootings. “I fully expected him to be one of those snipers on a rooftop someday."

In 1999, Cullar and Tom and Joseph Ferguson ended up in court over allegations that the Fergusons were spreading rumors about Cullar in the neighborhood.

Cullar, who is the brother of Joseph Ferguson’s mother, said his nephew had been a normal, young teenager until he became influenced by his strict father.

“He would answer his father, ‘Yes, sir, sergeant major, sir.’ It was a game they would play,” Cullar said.

An attorney who represented the Fergusons said he was surprised.

“I find it hard to believe, after having interacted with the Ferguson family now for three years, that anything of this nature would be in Joe’s life plan,” Michael Barber said. “I’m in absolute shock.”


Ferguson 'one of those loner kids'

His mother is in prison for molesting him, his father has reportedly dug a bunker under their house for weapons practice and, according to his uncle, he thought Charles Manson was a good guy. It would be an understatement to say Joseph Ferguson, who was a suspect in five killings and who apparently killed himself early today, was seen as a troubled young man.

"He's lost," said Ned P. Cullar, Ferguson's uncle. "You look at him and you want to cry."

Interviews with acquaintances of the tall, thin man who would have turned 21 a week from now portrayed a person with a penchant for militaristic garb and a paucity of friends.

"He didn't talk to that many people," said a woman who would identify herself only as Andrea, and who grew up living a few doors down from the Fergusons in a south Sacramento neighborhood off Meadowview Road.

"He was one of those loner kids," she said. "Even when we were little, they (Ferguson and his two brothers) didn't come outside much, and when they did, they played with each other. We didn't pay much attention to him."

According to his uncle and neighbors, Ferguson attended John F. Kennedy High School for two years, and then was taken out by his father after his junior year to be home schooled.

The family lives in a one-story house surrounded by a high wooden fence topped with barbed wire. One sign on the fence featured a picture of a Doberman pinscher and read: "I can make it to the fence in 2.8 seconds. Can you?"

Neighbors said that while Ferguson favored black clothes and a shaved head, he lacked any reputation for violence -- or anything else.

"I never sat down and had dinner or a beer with them, just .casual conversation," said neighbor Al Veirs, 48. "Joe seemed to be a pretty good kid."

Ferguson's parents were divorced in December 1998, a few months before his mother pleaded no contest to molesting two of her sons, including Joseph, when they were under the age of 14.

Susan C. Ferguson, who was the manager of a discount clearance center at the time of her arrest, is an inmate at the Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla. She is in the third year of a 14-year prison sentence.

A third son also reported his mother had molested him, but the statute of limitations had expired by the time she was charged.

"Each of them had thought they were the only ones and that it was their secret," Ferguson's father, Thomas, told The Bee at the time of the sentencing, "but when they all learned the same thing had happened to each of them, they cried."

Other charges against the woman were dropped in return for her pleading no contest.

"We went along with the deal because my sons couldn't take it any longer," Thomas Ferguson said at the time. "Today is a new beginning for all of us."

According to Ned Cullar, Joseph Ferguson's uncle, the Fergusons had dug a bunker under their house in which to practice shooting.

"It's amazing," Cullar said. "They'd be tunneling under the house, coming out of a hole to dump the dirt. They built retaining walls down there."

Cullar said he got a restraining order against Joseph Ferguson and his father in 1999 because he claimed they were harassing him, but dropped Joseph from the order so his nephew could become a security guard.

"Joe was a real neat kid," Cullar said. "Really on the ball, a good kid. But over (the last) three (to) four years, he changed a lot ... it was hate everybody. He used to have friends of all races, but then it became all white. He hates everyone, even women. ... Joe thinks Charlie Manson was a good guy. He's got tapes of Jim Jones," the San Francisco-based preacher who led the 1978 murder-suicides of more than 900 people in Guyana.

But at least one neighbor says the roots of Ferguson's alleged vitriol ran deeper than the last few years.

"Even as kids they were very militant against people they didn't like," said a neighbor who asked not to be identified. The neighbor said the Fergusons called her racist names, and let it be known they had guns and ammunition hidden in the walls of their house.

Ferguson received his private security guard permit in March 1999, according to state records, and had no criminal record.


Killer's trail of blood: A six-minute videotape made by Joseph Ferguson explains why he murdered four of his five victims

George Bernardino died because he had missed three work shifts and Joseph Ferguson had to fill in for him. Nina Susu was killed because she would never tell him she loved him.

John Derek Glimstad was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And Marsha Jackson didn't run fast enough.

That was the twisted logic left on a videotape by Ferguson, the 20-year-old security guard who authorities say killed five and then shot himself to death early Monday after he was cornered near Folsom Boulevard and Zinfandel Drive.

Ferguson also wounded a California Highway Patrol officer, who was expected to recover, and shot Jeffrey Maines, a 27-year-old motorist who remained in critical condition Monday at UC Davis Medical Center.

During the final gunbattle, Ferguson fired off more than 150 rounds of ammunition. Authorities said Monday they were relieved that more people were not killed.

"We were very lucky," Sacramento Sheriff Lou Blanas said.

Despite that, questions remained whether authorities responded quickly enough to a report that Ferguson had made threats last week against his employer, Burns International Security, and his ex-girlfriend.

There also were questions over whether Burns did enough to check on the welfare of its employees.

However, authorities focused Monday on a six-minute video that Ferguson forced a hostage to tape shortly before he killed the man. On the tape, Ferguson profanely explains his reasons for the rampage.

Few of the reasons seemed to make sense, and the underlying theme appeared to be his desire to blame others for his actions and to be famous -- to "go down in ... history."

He wanted to go out in a hail of gunfire after killing one more than Nikolay Soltys, who is charged in seven deaths in an Aug. 20 attack on family members.

Instead, authorities said, Ferguson killed five, then killed himself with a shot to the chin as officers moved in, keeping the promise he made on the tape to "just pop myself."

Blanas and others cautioned the media against glamorizing Ferguson, especially after he implied on the tape that he was acting in part because of the attention Soltys received.

"We don't want to make this individual a martyr at all," Blanas said, as his office released a heavily edited, 90-second version of the tape.

That hardly seemed likely. In the full six-minute version of the tape that sources allowed The Bee to view Monday, Ferguson blamed some problems on his mother, who is serving a 14-year prison sentence in Chowchilla State Prison for molesting him.

Susan Ferguson declined to be interviewed about her son's killing spree and death.

"She learned about her son's suicide on the radio," state corrections official Stephen Green said. "She was distraught and she was getting assistance from a prison psychologist."

Ferguson also blamed most of the victims for the fate that befell them during a 24-hour rampage.

Four of the victims died Saturday night, including three of Ferguson's co-workers at Burns Security.

They were identified as Marsha Jackson, 32, a single mother of three; George Bernardino, 47; and Nina Susu, the 20-year-old former girlfriend Ferguson blamed for rejecting him.

Also killed was Miller Park marina employee John Derek Glimstad, who was gunned down because he was near Bernardino when the killing at Miller Park began.

Ferguson was a Burns supervisor and had been suspended from his job last week after attacking Susu's car with an ax.

Burns officials reported Ferguson to the FBI late Friday as a potential threat to the company, but because he had no criminal record and had made no overt threats, officials did not move that day to interrogate him.

The next day, he went to a shooting range and that night, authorities say, began his killing spree.

Ferguson made the videotape about 8 p.m. Sunday, authorities believe, inside a house east of Bradshaw Road and Highway 50 where he had taken Nikolay and Lyudmila Popovich hostage.

Ferguson had worked with Nikolay Popovich at Burns Security, and he apparently went there early Sunday after killing his first four victims.

Authorities believe he forced the couple to feed him, and then barricaded the doors and windows of the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with furniture and rolled up carpets.

The barricades were designed to slow any police raid to give him enough time to kill officers, sources said, and the video shows Ferguson, wearing a bulletproof vest, stopping at one point to look out the front door peephole to see if police were coming.

"I'm waiting for you guys," he said, holding a pistol in one hand.

Ferguson said on the tape that he converted his father's legal weapons to fully automatic ones in his Meadowview garage, without his father's knowledge.

He also explained on the tape that he had not harmed the Popovich family and did not plan to. An hour later, officials say, he bound and gagged Nikolay Popovich, then shot him once in the back of the head. Popovich would have turned 30 next Tuesday, the same day Ferguson would have turned 21.

Ferguson then turned his focus to Lyudmila, telling her he had enjoyed his killing so far, including her husband, and discussed killing her. She said she talked him out of it by reading Bible passages to him.

Her escape from death was similar to that of another Burns employee, Diana Pfoutz, 32, whom Ferguson took hostage at the Land Park Zoo after the first four killings and later left unharmed but handcuffed to the emu cage.

"He thought she was just a nice person," said Sacramento Police Chief Arturo Venegas Jr.

About 9 p.m. Sunday, Ferguson took Lyudmila Popovich to a road several miles away, leaving her with the tape.

About the same time, Ferguson's father, Tom, was finishing up a videotaped plea for authorities in which he asked his son "to do the right thing and give himself up," FBI spokesman Nick Rossi said.

That tape was to be released to the media at 10:30 Sunday night. Before that could happen, however, authorities received a 911 call from Lyudmila Popovich.

Some time later, Ferguson was spotted driving near Zinfandel and International drives.

At 11:30 p.m., CHP Sgt. Daniel Snook was headed south on Zinfandel when he saw a dark blue Nissan stopped at a traffic light on the northbound side and called for backup.

CHP Officers Martin Tapia and Nick Salmeron pulled up beside Snook's car, and Ferguson suddenly stepped out of his vehicle with an automatic AK-47 assault rifle and opened fire from 20 feet away.

Tapia and Salmeron's car was peppered with bullets and the pair ducked down. Snook returned fire with his pistol.

Ferguson jumped into his car, authorities said, shooting at the patrol cars as he went past. Tapia was shot twice in his upper left arm. He was hospitalized Monday but expected to recover fully.

At Zinfandel Drive and Folsom Boulevard, Ferguson hit a fire hydrant, stopped and stepped out firing as CHP Officers Trevor Shields and Michael Terry returned fire with pistols.

"He would duck behind the car to slap a fresh clip in, then hold the gun over his head and unload," said witness Wesley Cole. "He was just dumping and reloading, dumping and reloading."

CHP Officers Ed Persijn and Eric Trujillo joined the battle, which lasted three minutes.

Ferguson fired more than 150 rounds of ammunition, using the assault rifle, a handgun and a sawed off shotgun.

Jeffrey Maines, 27, was sitting in his pickup on Folsom waiting to turn left when he was hit by a hollow point AK-47 round that pierced his car door and went through his side. Maines tumbled out of his car into the street.

"He was lying on the ground saying, 'I'm shot, I'm shot,' " Cole said.

Sheriff's homicide Sgt. Craig Hill had been standing behind the hood of a car aiming at Ferguson with his .40-caliber pistol, but he held off firing because he feared hitting patrons running for cover behind Ferguson in a Jack in the Box restaurant's parking lot.

Hill saw Maines bleeding heavily on the street and drove his Chevy Tahoe directly between Ferguson's car and Maines.

"It was something that needed to be done; there was no way I could let that guy lie there and die in front of us," Hill said. Later, he found a hole from an AK-47 round that hit his car.

While Hill blocked Ferguson's view of Maines, CHP Officers Rob Luthy, Jeff Sortomme and Mark Manz, along with sheriff's Deputy Rhea Pelster, dragged him to safety.

Sacramento Police Detectives Mark Hensley and Jim Pearson also opened fire, and Ferguson eventually was motionless in the front seat.

After a few minutes, officers approached the car and discovered Ferguson dead of what authorities say was a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound.




Nikolay Popovich


John Derek Glimstad, 19, was killed at the Miller Park Marina gas station.


Nina Susu



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