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Man jailed for Calgary Stampede death threats

Patrick Deegan displays long guns at a gun store in Calgary Sept. 15, 2010. A man who a judge says has an "obsession with warfare and weaponry" has been sent to jail for threatening to kill people with a machine gun at the Calgary Stampede last summer. Deegan, 29, was sentenced Thursday to two years less a day.

Jeff McIntosh/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A man who a judge says has an "obsession with warfare and weaponry" has been sent to jail for threatening to kill people with a machine gun at the Calgary Stampede last summer.

Patrick Deegan, 29, was sentenced Thursday to two years less a day after admitting in January that he uttered death threats and illegally possessed a firearm.

"We now sadly live in a world where threats like these have to be taken seriously," said Provincial Court Judge Joanne Durant.

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A sinister e-mail Mr. Deegan sent to the Calgary Fire Department last spring was "not a fanciful threat," the judge said. "I do not accept this was an impulsive act."

Judge Durant pointed to terrorist acts such as the Sept. 11, 2001, Twin Towers attack in New York and the bombing at the Boston Marathon last year and said the public can no longer take safety for granted.

Mr. Deegan admitted he sent the e-mail from his account to the fire department on May 26, 2013. The e-mail warned there was going to be an attack at the Stampede that July and that there would be many casualties.

"There is going to be a machine-gun attack at the Calgary Stampede this year," the e-mail read. "Two MG-52s rated at 1800 rpm. There will be over 1,000+ casualties."

At the time the e-mail was sent, Mr. Deegan was on a 12-month peace bond related to domestic violence. One of the bond's conditions was that he was not allowed to purchase or possess any sort of firearm.

The e-mail prompted a police investigation that led to the homes and vehicles of Mr. Deegan, his girlfriend and his parents.

Court heard police found an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, a Lee Enfield bolt-action rifle and a Norinco semi-automatic rifle at the home of Mr. Deegan's parent.

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Judge Durant cited psychiatric evaluations dating back to 2004 pointing to Mr. Deegan's obsession with guns, warfare and 9/11 conspiracy theories. She said his obsession shows "no signs of diminishing" 10 years later and jail was warranted.

An extra month was tacked onto Mr. Deegan's sentence because he breached his peace bond. With credit given for nine months he has already spent in custody, his remaining sentence is just under 16 months.

He was also sentenced to three years probation, faces a 10-year prohibition on owning a firearm and is banned for life from having a restricted weapon.

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