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Dwayne A. Ferguson, the 52-year-old city man charged with weapons possession in connection with the lockdown at Harvey Austin School Thursday, is

well known in the anti-violence movement of Buffalo

He is youth mentor and president of MAD DADS, as was working in an after school program at the school when arrested Thursday.

He is not employed by Buffalo Public Schools but was working in the 21st Century Community Learning Program, an after-school academic enrichment initiative that tutors disadvantaged students.

Ferguson, who also is a member of Buffalo Peacemakers, has taken an active role in many community outreach programs targeting youth. He regularly patrols area malls, and city streets in an effort to curb gang-related violence.

His action Thursday in possessing a loaded handgun in a school while working in a youth program shocked friends and co-workers.

“Everyone is a little concerned right now,” said an acquaintance of Ferguson. “But with everything that has happened in the schools recently, the school has to have a protocol.”

The structured after-school program provides assistance for elementary school students in three areas: enrichment, academic and nutrition. In addition, mentors help students with their homework.

Ferguson was 35 when he joined forces with fellow fathers on Buffalo’s East Side to form MAD DADs (Men Against Destruction Defending Against Drugs and Social Disorder).

The father of three children, Ferguson is a lifelong resident of the East Side. Throughout the years he has overseen MAD DADS basketball leagues in an organized effort to keep teens off the streets.

In August 2011, MAD DADS marked its 15-year anniversary with an honorary awards banquet in Salvatore’s Italian Gardens Restaurant in Lancaster.