by: Mike Petchenik Updated:
ROSWELL, Ga. - A Roswell father charged with disorderly conduct for wearing a surgical mask into a day care center and making comments about the Newtown, Conn. school shooting, says he’s been the target of death threats.
Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik was in Roswell Municipal Court Tuesday for Scott Baluss’ trial. The judge, however, rescheduled the hearing until September. Baluss had requested a public defender, but the judge ruled his income was too high and that he would have to hire private counsel.
“I will have a proper attorney by my side to make sure I can go home and protect my son some more,” Baluss told Petchenik after the brief hearing.
Roswell police arrested Baluss in December after workers at the Discovery Point child development center on Old Alabama Road complained Baluss had made comments about the school shooting that caused them concern while looking to enroll his son at the school.
“I inquired about the safety,” Baluss told Petchenik. “In lieu of what happened in Connecticut, it’s a very touchy subject for me as a first-time father. How is it that you can guarantee the safety of my son?”
Baluss said he was wearing the mask over his mouth because he was recovering from the flu and didn’t want to spread germs. He said he can understand why his comments, coupled with his appearance, may have caused concern. But he said the arresting officers should have asked some more questions to determine he wasn’t truly a threat.
“To sit here and say that my husband would be that type of person is ridiculous,” Rosana Baluss told Petchenik through tears. “If the officers had taken the time to do their job, what they get paid for, to ask questions to get underneath everything, because there’s always another side to a story.”
Roswell police told Petchenik they removed a post on their Facebook page at the request of the Baluss family after he received numerous threats.
“There were 365 comments,” Rosana said. “Death threats.”
Baluss told Petchenik he’s ready to fight the charges and move on with his life.
“I’m ready to get over it and just leave it alone,” he said.