Ex-Selfridge worker says he didn't make threats, gets $250,000 bond

Defendant Roque E. Diegel listens via video link during his arraignment.

Clinton Township — A 51-year-old military veteran and former worker at Selfridge Air National Guard Base was formally charged Monday with making threats to "shoot up" the military complex and ordered held on $250,000 bond.

Wearing dark jail garb, Roque Diegel continually interrupted the reading of allegations Tuesday during a video arraignment in 41-B District Court by Assistant Macomb County Prosecutor William Dailey, who said Diegel told another person he planned to shoot other people and harm himself.

Diegel said he did not make any threats, repeatedly saying "No," as Dailey outlined the allegations.

"I'm a 21-year veteran with 12 years of full-time service. I'm only three weeks away from my retirement," he said. "I have no reason to do anything bad to anybody because I'm looking towards a pension. I'm looking towards a severance package."

Diegel continued: "I had intended to go to the VA tomorrow and put in my paperwork for my benefits. I was going to go to Macomb (Community) College to go talk to the GI guy about my GI Bill and my college. This is really baffling to me, sir. Truly."

Dailey, saying his office is "extremely concerned" about the threats, asked for $1 million bond for Diegel, who is charged with false report or threat of terrorism, a 20-year felony.

"The allegations ... the nature of the charges, the evidence ... the (Michigan) State Police have uncovered thus far are (prompting) us to request a very high bond to protect the public," the prosecutor said.

He also asked that Diegel undergo a mental evaluation.

Clinton Township's 41B District Court Magistrate Ryan Zemke addresses the defendant.

Diegel told Magistrate Ryan Zemke, "(I'm) ... not a threat, sir."

But Zemke said the allegations are serious and cited the police seizure of more than 70 firearms — some of which were "properly registered" — and hundreds of rounds of ammunition from Diegel's home.

"I have to consider and the chief concern in this case is, is this a danger to the public?" the magistrate said.

"In this case, there's certainly a right to free speech, there's a right to bear arms but at some point when those intersect and it becomes a danger to the public, that's when the legal system has to get involved," Zemke said.

Base officials said the incident closed the main gate at Hall Road and Jefferson Highway.

In setting the $250,000 bond, the magistrate ordered that Diegel be put under house arrest, wear a GPS tether and stay away from Selfridge if released from jail.

In a statement Tuesday, Selfridge officials said Diegel had worked at the base since 2002, most recently as an air terminal craftsman in a logistics readiness squadron. Officials at the base are cooperating in the investigation, the statement said.

State police said the motive behind the threats, which were received Sunday, was unknown.

James David Dickson contributed.