A Solano County Superior Court judge declined Thursday to issue a permanent restraining order against a since-terminated Fairfield firefighter who says his threats to kill co-workers were just jokes that he regrets making.
The temporary restraining order issued in February against Robert Stacy, 41, expired Thursday and Judge Daniel Healy said the evidence didn’t show the credible threat of violence required for a permanent order.
“I don’t think Mr. Stacy was really a threat, but I understand why everyone thought he was,” Healy said in court. “The city of Fairfield handled this responsibly.”
Attorney Christina Petricca, representing Stacy, said after the judge’s ruling that she and her client were happy with his decision.
Stacy, who was placed on administrative leave Feb. 13 and later terminated from the Fire Department, has a separate administrative appeal of his dismissal from the department. Attorney Toussaint Bailey, who represented the city on the restraining order matter, said a March ruling is expected on the administrative appeal.
Bailey declined to comment on the Thursday ruling about the restraining order.
Stacy could not return to work if the permanent restraining order was granted.
A Fairfield police sergeant in a declaration filed in court had said he was told Stacy remarked during a January shift change at Fire Station No. 35 on Edison Court that Stacy thought he’d go home and take his life “but before I do that, I will go back and kill you guys.”
Stacy testified Thursday before the judge’s ruling and repeatedly said he has absolutely no plans to harm any firefighters. He said he didn’t remember in detail his words to a firefighter who asked about trading shifts in January. Stacy said in court he was on a performance improvement plan because of missing information on patient care reports filed after responding to medical emergencies.
Firefighters with improvement plans can’t trade shifts but aren’t supposed to discuss that status, Stacy said. He said that after a 48-hour shift and eager to go home and see his family he declined to trade shifts with a statement that was interpreted as a threat.
“I should have said, ‘No, I can’t do it,’ ” testified Stacy. He added that he often traded shifts because he was one of few firefighters who lived in Fairfield and it was easier for him to take on a shift.
“I’ve regretted the words I chose every day for the last year,” he said of comments about trading shifts. He called the statement “fire station banter between people who have known each for other 20 years.”
Stacy said in court that he never considered working for another department.
“That’s been my home since I was a teenager,” he said of the Fairfield department.
Judge Healy said in court that he didn’t understand why, if Stacy didn’t want to reveal he was on an improvement plan, he came up with a story that was perceived as a threat.
“I just don’t follow the logic,” the judge said.
Healy said that Stacy at fire stations “said a lot of stupid things” and failed to take responsibility for his statements.
“I’m seriously disappointed with Mr. Stacy’s explanations,” the judge added.
According to the Fairfield police sergeant’s declaration, Stacy was at a computer at the Fire Station 35 and told a captain assisting him on Jan. 19 that, “I am doing my best. I don’t want to lose my job and I would kill myself if I lost my job.”
In August 2012 on the apparatus floor of Fire Station No. 41 on North Texas Street, Stacy said, “I don’t think I am being treated fairly” in a promotion, the declaration stated. The statement added that Stacy then pointed to the light pole behind the fire station and said, “I think I will hang myself from that pole right there, but I am not sure if I can make the knot. Or I can go to work for an auto parts store.”
Stacy said his difficulty tying knots led to the knot reference and was part of his misinterpreted joke.
Two Fairfield firefighters testified Thursday that they did not think Stacy’s comments were credible threats, while a third firefighter said he believed they were.
Healy said his decision on the permanent restraining order was a close call and “I think Mr. Stacy made it a lot closer” by not just getting on the stand and admitting “he was a knucklehead.”
Written by Ryan McCarthy