Gladwin County Man Charged With Terrorism After Courthouse Threat, Reminder Of Security

The man the Gladwin County sheriff says threatened to shoot up the Gladwin County Courthouse on Wednesday, March 28 learned his charges Thursday.

Now, he could face up to life in prison.

Northern Michigan’s News Leader had the only camera in courtroom as 19-year-old Anthony Ostrander heard he was being charged with terrorism.

The sheriff says Ostrander called the court and made a specific, credible threat towards people inside.

That threat threw the courthouse into lockdown for three hours until Ostrander went to the sheriff’s department to deal with an unrelated issue, where they arrested him.

Thursday morning, the assistant prosecuting attorney said Ostrander targeted specific people, including the Family Court clerk.

Ostrander is being held on a $1 million bond.

Staff in the building at the time say the lockdown was protocol for an active, credible threat.

In other counties, the case is a reminder of the importance of having security in a courthouse.

“Safety certainly needs to be a paramount concern,” says Karen Moore, Gladwin County District Court Administrator and Attorney Magistrate.

Moore was inside the courthouse during the threat and again the next day to arraign the man accused of making it.

“We had staff who were still outside,” Moore says. “It happened right around the lunch hour, so we had folks who were out of the building and we could notify them not to come back, or if they did come back into the area, to have law enforcement there to get them safe entry back into the building.”

Moore says the lockdown kept both staff and those using courthouse services safe.

“All of the office’s doors are locked to the general public,” Moore says. “We have lobbies or waiting areas that the public can have access to. Gladwin County has one entrance to the building so we can have that secure.”

“It’s something we are a little bit behind the curve on and we need to get caught up,” says Kim Cole, Mason County sheriff.

It’s a reminder for Sheriff Cole in Ludington of what they don’t have.

“That’s where everybody’s emotions peak, is at the court houses,” Cole says. “We have no court security here so it makes sense to take steps to not only protect our employees at the courthouse but also those visiting the courthouse those people that are in there to do legitimate business every day.”

Sheriff Cole says several proposals for security are in the county board of commissioners’ hands.

In Gladwin, Moore says her staff feels prepared moving forward.

“We’re dealing with human lives and we are dealing with human emotion,” Moore says. “When you deal with those things in this environment, sometimes good people even do bad things when pushed or when their emotions aren’t able to be in check so to have the security in the area for those events, it doesn’t get bigger than what it is.”