A 75-year-old Laguna Beach man was behind bars Wednesday for allegedly being a felon in possession of a firearm — charges prompted by a Craigslist post made by his son that was viewed as a possible threat against Laguna Beach City Council members.
Robert Mason Ross, who was being held on $250,000 bail, pleaded not guilty Friday to four counts of felony possession of a firearm by a felon, according to court records. His son, Michael James Ross, 33, was arrested Thursday, but he was released because charges were not filed against him within 72 hours, according to jail records.
A restraining order was issued Friday, barring both men from contacting Laguna Beach City Council members or from being within 100 yards of City Hall.
Michael Ross “made a post on Craigslist on (Jan. 4) outlining alleged corruption by Laguna Beach City Council members,” according to a court document filed by prosecutors.
“The post included five pictures of Michael in a ghillie (camouflage) suit emerging from brush with an assault rifle in his hands,” according to the document. “In the post, Michael said he was going to go to the city council in his ghillie suit and the council would be forcibly removed from office.”
While searching the home where the two men lived, investigators seized “several assault weapons, rifles, pistols and hundreds of rounds of ammunition … including a loaded rifle from a closet in Robert’s bedroom just feet away from Robert,” according to the court document seeking an increase in bail.
Robert Ross has a prior felony conviction out of Los Angeles County on March 22, 2002, according to court records.
“Robert regularly appears before (the) City Council alleging bizarre misdeeds and government conspiracies,” according to the bail motion. “Three guns registered to Michael were not located. I believe Robert has access to the guns and is a danger to the city council. Robert is unemployed and has access to a $300,000 trust.”
According to Laguna Beach police, the online post by Michael Ross also reads, “Call the police and the city council and tell them I am coming to end this corruption, from the Laguna Beach City Council, once and for all. Hahahahahaha, you are going down now.”
Michael Ross told a reporter Wednesday the photo was “joke,” and a “publicity stunt for a music video.”
–City News Service