According to the police’s account, at approximately 6:00 PM on Friday evening, Davis Police Officers were dispatched to the downtown area to search for an armed suicidal 25-year-old UC Davis student, Nicholas Benson.
The police found in his vehicle a loaded rifle with a telescopic sight, and a loaded shotgun. They also located hundreds of rounds of rifle ammunition in Benson’s possession.
His attorney Steve Sabbadini told reporters outside of the Courthouse on Wednesday that Mr. Benson is a good kid who needs help.
“He grew up in Davis, graduated from Davis High School. UCD student. Never been in trouble, never arrested. Essentially just a meltdown that has to be addressed,” Mr. Sabbadini said following his client entering a not-guilty plea.
“He was mainly a danger to himself, not a danger to others,” he added.
He also said it was premature to make any further comments and did not comment on confirmation about a past car crash.
As we reported on Monday, family and friends indicate that as a teenager, the individual suffered significant head injuries in an automobile accident, to the point where he nearly did not survive.
He has struggled to complete college and live a normal life.
They believe that, while he was suicidal, the idea that he was making terrorists threats was overblown and this was simply an overreaction.
“This young man belongs in the hospital, not in jail,” as according to one person familiar with Mr. Benson’s situation.
However, Davis police believe that without fast action on their part, we could have been looking at a tragic situation.
They say that Mr. Benson had several hundred rounds of ammunition, both on his person and in his truck.
“It was a military style rifle,” Lt. Doroshov told News 10. “We don’t want to speculate on what his motive was. But it was potentially explosive based on the weaponry involved, the ammunition that was there, and its close proximity to downtown Davis.”
“It’s amazing nobody was dead,” Lt. Doroshov said. “Everybody walked away with their life, including Mr. Benson himself.”
Defense Attorney Sabbadini asked that Mr. Benson be locked in a mental facility with evaluation, rather than a jail at this time.
The next hearing will be on February 4 in Judge Fall’s courtroom to determine competence to stand trial. He currently sits in jail on $1 million bail.
—David M. Greenwald reporting