Man who brandished gun replica at school is freed

The man accused of brandishing a replica handgun and causing a lockdown at Estancia High School earlier this year has pleaded guilty to one of four felony charges against him and been released from jail, according to Orange County Superior Court and jail records.

The other felony charges and a misdemeanor charge against him were dropped Thursday when he entered the plea, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

In February, Michael McHugh, 45, of Costa Mesa, pointed a BB gun at school staff and said he would kill anyone who tried to stop him from taking his child from Estancia, according to witnesses.

Administrators had stopped him from taking the student because the family has a restraining order against him, school officials said at the time.

The principal and assistant principal tackled McHugh and wrestled away the replica handgun, which they thought was real.

After the incident, McHugh was charged with one misdemeanor count of disobeying a court order and one felony count each of assault with a deadly weapon, criminal threats, threat of injury to a school official and possession of a weapon on school grounds, according to court documents.

He originally pleaded not guilty to all counts, but after pleading guilty Thursday to assault with a deadly weapon, McHugh was sentenced to one year in jail and five years of probation.

With credit for time served, McHugh was released from an Orange County lockup Thursday, according to jail records. He had been behind bars since his arrest on Feb. 15 in lieu of $100,000 bail.

As part of the plea agreement, McHugh will complete a six-month residential drug-treatment program, according to the district attorney's office.

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