“Concealed Carry” Means KEEP IT CONCEALED…
July 19th, 2010
One of the great benefits of having trained hundreds of thousands of students from all across the country is that when something happens, there is usually a Front Sight trained student in the area of the incident, who can give us a better account of the situation than the media.
This week I have a letter from a Front Sight student who shops regularly at the Costco store where a concealed carry permit holder was recently shot by police.
The point of this blog is not to cast any opinion negatively or positively on the police or the CCW holder in this tragic incident, but rather emphasize that when you carry a concealed weapon, there are two, very basic, yet extremely important rules you must follow:
Concealed Carry means KEEP YOUR GUN CONCEALED. If you do not keep the gun concealed and mistakenly allow the general public to get a glimpse of your gun, don’t be surprised if the police are called about a “man with a gun.” This is not a good situation. Bad things can happen as a result of poor management of a gun that is supposed to be concealed.
When carrying a concealed handgun, YOU MUST BE A MODEL CITIZEN. You can not afford situations in which you might lose your temper and speak or act in a less than model citizen manner. You must always carry yourself in a calm, cool, and collected demeanor when you are armed. Unless confronted with immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury, when carrying a concealed weapon there is no room words or actions that would cause other people to call the police.
Here is the initial news story on this terrible loss of life and then a letter I received from one of our students who has learned these important rules of concealed carry through our courses, lives in the area and actually shops at the Costco where the incident occurred…
SUMMERLIN COSTCO STORE: Slaying of Army veteran shocks friends
Man shot by police was West Point grad
By LAWRENCE MOWER
2010 LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Army veteran who was shot by police Saturday worked for medical devices company
The man shot by police outside a Summerlin Costco store on Saturday was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a master’s degree from Duke University, friends said.
Army veteran Erik Scott, 39, was at the store near Charleston Boulevard and the Las Vegas Beltway with his girlfriend before three officers fatally shot him in a confrontation.
Friends and an attorney speaking on behalf of Scott’s relatives, described him as a good man from a military family. His father was in the Air Force, and his grandfather fought in World War II, friend Mike Pusateri said.
“The most loyal, honest, trustworthy, salt-of-the-earth guy you could meet,” said Pusateri, 38. “You only meet one or two of those kinds of guys in your life, and Erik is one of them.”
Scott worked for Boston Scientific, a medical devices manufacturer, as a sales representative for the company’s pacemakers. Attorney Ross Goodman, who represents Scott’s family, said Scott was one of the company’s top sales employees.
Pusateri and Goodman said Scott and his girlfriend were at the Costco because they were moving in together and wanted to buy the things they needed. The two men declined to discuss the events that led to the shooting.
According to Las Vegas police, officers were called to 801 S. Pavilion Center Drive at 12:47 p.m. by a store worker who said a man was destroying merchandise. Police were told the man had a gun.
Capt. Patrick Neville described Scott as “kind of going berserk.” Workers evacuated the store. Officers stopped Scott outside as the customers were leaving.
Neville said an officer tapped the man on the shoulder and identified himself as police. Scott then spun around and reached for a gun, law enforcement officials said.
“They ordered him to the ground,” Neville said of the officers on Saturday. “He does not comply with that order. He reaches for the weapon, pulls the weapon out, at which time, the weapon was out of the waistband.”
Three officers fired multiple times, killing Scott.
One witness interviewed Saturday and three others interviewed Sunday by the Review-Journal gave accounts that differed from what police described.
With a few minor variations, the witnesses recounted matching sequences of events. The witnesses interviewed did not see what happened inside the store that prompted workers to call police. Three of the witnesses, upset by the event, asked that their names not be published.
Once Scott was outside, none of the witnesses saw him brandish a weapon or make any movement that would seem like he was brandishing a weapon.
The first witness already had made his purchases and was waiting in line for a worker to check his receipt when he saw an officer enter the store. The officer whispered something to the worker checking the receipts. The first witness then heard that employee turn to another employee and say, “He said we should let him through.”
The four witnesses described a calm rush of customers exiting the front of the store after Costco workers told everyone to leave.
Attorney David Amesbury said he arrived in time to see shoppers leaving. He described the customer exodus as being “like the aftermath of Disneyland.”
A customer told Amesbury that he couldn’t go in, so the attorney waited on a bench west of the entrance. He said he had a clear view of two officers standing beside the entrance with their guns drawn.
All four witnesses said they were within 20 feet of the store’s main entrance. They said Scott walked out of the entrance with the crowd.
They described an officer shouting at Scott, then a quick succession of gunshots.
The witnesses differed in their recollection of what one of the officers said.
Amesbury heard, “I told you to stop. Stop.”
Two witnesses interviewed Sunday heard, “Drop it.”
A fourth witness, interviewed Saturday, heard, “Get down,” “Put it down,” or “Get out of the way.”
A second anonymous witness said Sunday he saw Scott pull up his shirt and turn toward the shouting officer. Then he saw the man get shot, drop to his knees and fall face-first in front of the entrance.
“There wasn’t even time for someone to react,” the second witness said. “The guy didn’t pull a gun. There was no gun in his hand, there was no gun on the ground.”
The second witness said he was interviewed by homicide detectives and gave them the same account.
The first anonymous witness also didn’t see Scott make a threat.
“I certainly did not see the guy do anything with a gun that would threaten anybody,” the first witness said Sunday. “It appeared to me that if he had guns on him, that they were literally in his pocket or in his waist.”
The first witness also was interviewed by homicide detectives about the shooting.
Amesbury said he did not see the man get shot, but, “When I go around the corner, I see this guy laid out. I didn’t see a gun.” Amesbury’s view of the shooting was blocked by stone pillars. He was not interviewed by police.
Before the shooting, Scott was walking with a woman that three witnesses thought was his girlfriend. They said she became distraught after the shooting. The incident also left the witnesses shaken.
It’s just incredible “with all these people around that Metro would provoke something there,” the second witness said. “I don’t want to second-guess the police, but wouldn’t it have been better to confront him out at his car?”
After the shooting, some people in the crowd panicked. An elderly woman was knocked down and cut her elbow in the chaos, the second witness said.
Only Scott was struck by gunfire .
Police said Scott had two handguns on him when he was shot. Goodman said Scott had a concealed-weapons permit.
Pusateri said his friend was a “safety freak” around guns. He said that “absolutely not in a million years” would Scott be careless with them around others.
Scott graduated from West Point, in New York, in 1994 and was stationed for a time at Fort Hood, Texas, as a tank platoon leader. In 2003, he graduated from Duke University in North Carolina with a master’s degree in business administration.
Friends said they noticed nothing strange about Scott in the days before the shooting.
On Friday, Scott’s vehicle was struck by another vehicle while he was rushing a pacemaker to Summerlin Hospital Medical Center, Pusateri said. Scott was not injured in the collision, and a firefighter took the device from the crash scene to the hospital, he said.
Friends were distraught and puzzled as to why police shot and killed Scott.
“He’s a stand-up guy in the community,” Goodman said. “This guy is not somebody to put himself in a situation like that.”
Pusateri, who also sells medical devices, said Scott worked closely with patients in his job. He called Scott’s job the “pinnacle” of the business.
“It’s very, very sad,” Pusateri said. “I’m shocked by it. It’s the tragic loss of a great man.”
And here is a letter I received from one of our students who lives in the area and actually shops at the Costco where the incident occurred…
My name is Dr. Greg Goetz. I’m a Front Sight Lifetime Member and pistol/rifle graduate.
There was an incident a week ago at a Costco about 2 miles from my house, one that I shop at regularly.
A 39 year old Boston Scientific medical instruments rep who was a West Point graduate was shot and killed by Las Vegas Metro police as he exited Costco after shopping there with his girlfriend. I don’t think I’ve ever met the guy but I know one of his co-workers very well. (I’m an anesthesiologist)
According to the Las Vegas review journal, he was inside shopping with his girlfriend and at one point became agitated or frustrated trying to see if a case of bottled water or Gatorade would fit into his backpack. He was noticed by either fellow shoppers or Costco staff or both. The decision was made by someone to call the police.
He eventually calmed down, finished his shopping, paid, and was exiting the building when he as approached by 3 policemen. The best that can be gathered from hearsay and secondhand reports was that he was trying to tell them he was carrying concealed and lifted his shirt to show the police. At that point he was shot.
As the facts become more clear and public (and they surely will because there were a multitude of witnesses not the least of which was the girlfriend) the police’s choice of lethal force over less lethal (stun gun, etc) will either be validated or rejected.
But I think our local community here in Las Vegas, the news media, and the rest of the firearms community nationwide are missing a very important point. The police don’t get called for some guy just acting agitated at a Costco.
I will bet my life he somehow exposed his sidearm and someone got scared and notified the police on a “man with a gun” call.
I think this has more to do with the fear of the largely gun-intimidated public, many of whom sit at the left end of the political spectrum. Some soccer mom shopping with her kids probably saw his gun. freaked and called the cops. Such a call results in a mindset by the responding officers that probably has more to do with this man being dead than whether or not he failed to follow the cop’s instructions verbatim when he was approached.
I carry every day. Everywhere I’m allowed, unless there is a no firearms sign. Then it stays in the car till I come back out and it goes back on my hip where it’s happy. Front Sight has given me the comfort of mind of being safe and effective with my guns, but the rest of the public is still predominately very intimidated by guns. I think those of us in the “gun community” have to recognize this and take the appropriate steps while carrying to maintain good concealment and monitor our behavior so that we are ‘model’ citizens while doing so, so the same thing doesn’t repeat itself.
Again, my take is that this was not so much a police over reaction as a CITIZEN’S over reaction to seeing a gun, because THAT is really, that’s what started the events in motion.
This fall I’m scheduled for Precision Rifle, Edged Weapons, Advanced Tactical Handgun and I’m bringing out my 3rd and 4th first time students so they can experience Front Sight too.
Keep up the good work. You’re fighting the good fight.
Dr. Gregory Goetz
Las Vegas, NV.
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