I came across an incredibly sickening story last week, although the event happened about two weeks ago. On of the better articles is in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. A West Point grad and successful business man, Erik Scott was shopping at a Costco in Sumerlin, NV, with his girlfriend. He had a concealed carry permit and was legally armed. The Costco was not posted to exclude firearms as would be required by Nevada law, so he was entirely legal to carry there.
What happens over the next few minutes has been reported variously by witnesses and a Costco employee. Some Costco employee apparently somehow saw Scott’s firearm and calls 911 to report a man with a gun going berserk and destroying merchandise. Witnesses who were in the same isle later countered that Scott calmly was trying to see if some water bottles fit in a backpack cooler he had and we possibly assisted by a Costco employee.
Next, Costco evacuates the store for a “bomb scare”. The cops are waiting outside with guns drawn and helicopters overhead. Scott and his girlfriend exit the store with the crowd, three cops start screaming inconsistent, mutually exclusive commands at him, then shoot him seven times, the last volley while he was laying face down on the ground.
The three shooters say that Scott drew his firearm and pointed it at them. Witnesses disagree on whether Scott was trying pull out his firearm to drop it as at least one policeman commanded or didn’t have a firearm in his hand at all. No one other than the police say that Scott pointed anything at them. You can read the conflicting reports here and here. The police are basically saying that only their report can be trusted.
Police won’t release the recording of the 911 call or the Costco surveillance video. Another tidbit: Although the report itself is highly biases against the Army vet, browse the comments section to one made on 11 July at 12:33 AM (sorry, there’s no way to link directly to a comment) and 12 July at 12:50 AM. The commenter apparently got her information from the girlfriend standing next to Scott during the entire incident. She confirmed that the cops gave Scott at least three conflicting commands. Scott’s father has retained an attorney and is aggressively pursuing an independent investigation. As it turns out, the local coroner’s inquest has only faulted police for a shooting once in recent history.
The linked articles and comments also note that the lead shooter in this incident has killed before and has a questionable history. Some report that the other two shooters were rookies, but I haven’t verified that.
I’ll try to monitor this story as it progresses. I’m no opponent of the police in general, but this shooting smells of a tragic error in judgment by all involved.
So, what’s the lesson for concealed carriers? The prime lesson was offered by Mas Ayoob over the years as a basic commandment: “concealed is concealed.” In other words, if you’re carrying, ensure that no one sees your knows about your firearm. No exceptions. Take great care with your clothing and mannerisms so as to keep concealed concealed. That usually involves some changes in clothing, habits or lifestyle. Make them. It could save your life. If Erik Scott’s firearm had not somehow become apparent to an idiot Costco employee, he’d still be alive today. Remember, anti-gun people don’t care if you die as long as they feel comfortable in their own small minds.
Other than that, I wish that I could find something useful in this. The executed carrier was trying to comply with conflicting orders from police. Apparently he picked the wrong order to obey.
For police I offer the following thought. Only two states and the District of Columbia prohibit concealed carry. 39 states are “shall issue” (including Nevada), and many permit open carry without a permit. So, in an overwhelming number of states, citizens have a legal right to be armed. When you receive a “man with a gun” call, please ask if that person is pointing at people or if the firearm is holstered. Many anti-gun morons will make a 911 call even though they are in no way threatened. We live in a land of sheep. You may just save someone innocent person’s life by asking the right questions of callers. That approach will certainly reduce and maybe even eliminate executions of innocent, legal carriers. We are all tired of hearing how cops want to go home safely at the end of the day. So do we, your employers/citizens who you swore to protect and defend.