Man arrested after Franklin County legislators targeted with threats
Ellis: Quick police response kept lockdown short after death threats
Saranac Lake-based Franklin County Legislator Lindy Ellis was at the Franklin County Courthouse on Thursday when the building went into a temporary lockdown after a man made numerous and specific death threats toward her fellow legislators, Malone and Franklin County officials and the general community.
Malone Police Chief William Andre said Eugene Burdash was arrested by Plattsburgh city police in Clinton County. Burdash was in Plattsburgh threatening to go to Malone, he said.
Burdash appears to have made dozens of specific death threats through social media on Thursday, targeting Malone Mayor and Franklin County Legislator Andrea Dumas particularly, but also threatening her family, the county offices as a whole, numerous other county and local officials, Malone village police, Dumas’ children at local schools and the Malone community in general. Malone schools also went into lockdown on Thursday.
These threats were made through nearly nonstop Facebook posts on Thursday morning, continuing from death threats he made all throughout Wednesday.
Ellis said Dumas learned of the threats at 7:40 a.m. on Thursday morning and went straight to the State Police barracks in Malone instead of a Franklin County Legislature work session.
“A quick response of the police in terms of securing that individual and having them in custody kept the lockdown from having to go past locking the doors,” Ellis said. “We were just stepping towards having people go home when we learned that the individual was in custody.”
Ellis estimated the lockdown lasted around an hour between 10 and 11 a.m., but said she wasn’t looking at the clock much.
Dumas herself was at the State Police barracks until Burdash was arrested.
Andre said he didn’t have a count of the charges exactly on Thursday morning, but said Burdash was going to be charged with “at least” three counts of making terroristic threats and aggravated harassment.
Ellis said she hopes the stress and concern of the frightening event did not hurt Dumas and her family. She also acknowledged the impact on all the children in the Malone schools that were locked down.
“It is something that we should really think about how it affects all the young folks,” Ellis said. “It’s a terrible thing.”
In posts filled with slurs and threats, Burdash appears to have posted stock photos of guns, images of the Oklahoma City bombing attack and photos of himself holding a large knife. Most of his posts and threats carried reference to “Nephilim,” a word he has tattooed on his neck, referring to beings in the Hebrew Bible said to be hybrids of humans and angels.
Burdash claims to be a veteran on Facebook. Separate Facebook accounts appear to show him making threats online since at least 2018.
“Through coordinated efforts with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, Plattsburgh Police Department and other local law enforcement, the suspect, identified as Eugene Burdash, was apprehended without incident and there is no further threat,” the Malone Police Department wrote on Facebook.