James Fertig
James Fertig
May 30, 2014

A rural Lake View man who threatened to shoot law officers on two nights in January and February if they stepped onto his acreage pleaded guilty last week to harassment and was sentenced to a year of probation, according to court documents.

James Fertig, 73, faced two felony charges for a threat of terrorism and being a felon in possession of a firearm - both punishable by up to five years in prison - for the incidents on Jan. 24 and Feb. 8.

Fertig was allegedly suicidal and threatened to shoot anyone who came to help him, according to court documents.

Sac County sheriff's deputies and state highway patrolmen gathered a few miles from Fertig's house on Jan. 24 as one of the patrolmen tried to negotiate with Fertig by phone.

"Fertig sounded drunk, was home alone, and had a shotgun with six rounds in it," the negotiator reported, according to the documents. "Fertig did not want anyone on his property and just wanted left alone."

The officers backed off. But then on Feb. 8, an intoxicated Fertig allegedly made an eight-minute 911 call and threatened to "shoot any car driving by (his house) if he thought it was law enforcement," court documents show. A deputy monitored the area that night, and Fertig made no more 911 calls.

A deputy requested two days later a search warrant to retrieve Fertig's firearms - which was granted by a judge - and a special tactical team of officers surrounded the house. A negotiator talked with Fertig by telephone several times over the course of an hour, and Fertig surrendered.

He did not show a weapon nor threaten to use one during the talks, Sac County Sheriff Ken McClure has said.

Fertig has since attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, court records show.

He pleaded guilty to the harassment charge last week and was sentenced to 364 days of suspended jail and one year of probation. He will be required to submit breath or blood tests for alcohol until his probation expires, court records show.

A judge ordered that Fertig's firearms be given to his grandson.