School threatener arrested in Old Snowmass showed AR-15, ordered armor-piercing bullets, according to police testimony
A photo shows a Glenwood Springs man holding an AR-15-style rifle in his apartment a month before he allegedly made online threats against Summit School District teachers and administrators, according to police testimony.
Then, two days before threats were publicly posted, police say Charles Draughn ordered “armor-piercing” bullets for an AR-15 online.
Law enforcement officers, however, never located any guns in his apartment or vehicle, according to the testimony of two detectives.
These details came to light Wednesday, March 22, during a preliminary hearing in which a judge reviews the evidence in a case to determine whether there is probable cause for the prosecution to move forward with a felony charge.
Judge Edward Casias ruled that probable cause exists, allowing prosecutors to advance with a felony menacing charge against Draughn, who also faces a misdemeanor menacing charge, and a count of interference with faculty and students of educational institutions, a misdemeanor.
Officers arrested Draughn in Old Snowmass on Jan. 25 after he allegedly posted comments on the Summit Daily News Instagram page threatening teachers and school district staff. Aspen, Roaring Fork and Glenwood Springs schools went on heightened alert during the incident and arrest. Draughn has been held in the Summit County Jail on a $100,000 bond since his arrest.
Dillon Police Detective Ryan Rice and Frisco Police Detective Luke Gardner testified for nearly two hours during the hearing Wednesday. According to their testimony, two accounts associated with Draughn, one called @Dopernautz and the other @ll.unnamoon2023, posted on Instagram on Jan. 24. The latter account posted comments such as, “people WILL start d Y i NG in summit county” and “the teachers in summit they will know my name and my ar really nicely.”
Deputy District Attorney Lauren Crisera argued during the hearing that photos and videos show Draughn had possession of firearms at his residence around the time of the threats.
“He could have left and acted on these threats at any time had he not been taken into custody,” Crisera said.
But Draughn’s defense attorney, John Scott, noted law enforcement searched both Draughn’s vehicle and residence twice and never found any weapons.
“In this case, there simply is no firearm,” Scott said.
Citing case law, Scott argued that the reference to an “AR” in one of the threatening posts does not meet the definition of “use” of a weapon under the criminal statute for menacing charges, since Draughn never brandished or displayed a weapon.
The detectives’ testimony revealed that Draughn allegedly purchased blueprints for 3D-printed gun parts online and had photos on his phone of guns and gun parts, some of which appeared to have been taken at his apartment. Law enforcement reportedly seized a 3D printer from Draughn’s apartment and also found a video of him cycling bullets through a firearm — showing its functionality — on his phone, according to the state’s testimony.
Some of the firearms pictured on Draughn’s phone could not have been purchased from a licensed dealer, according to testimony from the detectives, because the guns appeared to lack serial numbers.
After executing several search warrants, law enforcement officers determined the posts had been made directly from Draughn’s phone and discovered several bullets in the center console of his car as well as a single bullet in his apartment, officers said.
Rice testified that while he believes the bullets that turned up when the Colorado Bureau of Investigation searched Draughn’s vehicle were live ammunition that could be fired from a gun, police lost the bullets in a snowbank, so they cannot be forensically analyzed.
Draughn allegedly told police in an interview that he knew Summit County “like the back of his hand” and that had made the social media posts with the intent to scare people.
Rice testified that Draughn had been read his rights, understood them and agreed to an interview without a lawyer.
But Scott revealed in cross examination that on a form laying out those rights, Draughn had checked a box next to, “I do not want to speak with you at this time,” in addition to checking the box next to, “I wish to speak with you at this time without a lawyer present.” Draughn also indicated at least once that he wished the interview to end, according to police testimony.
With the felony charge moving forward, Casias sent the case to Summit County District Court. Draughn is scheduled for a first appearance before Judge Reed Owens on April 10.