Skip to comments.Gunned Down in Vegas: What Really Happened to Erik Scott?
Posted on 09/17/2010 8:33:36 AM PDT by Kaslin
An accomplished young man is killed by police outside a Vegas Costco, and bystander accounts starkly contrast with official reports.
Erik Scott was a West Point graduate, Army veteran, MBA graduate of Duke University, and a medical sales rep for Boston Scientific. He was gunned down by three Las Vegas police officers after they responded to a 911 call by Costco store employees reporting a man with a gun, possibly on narcotics, behaving erratically.
Scott was 38 years old, shopping with his girlfriend for items they needed as they moved in together. Unfortunately, those are the only details of the story on which anyone agrees.
To hear the side of the story presented by Scott’s family, friends, and some eyewitnesses, Erik Scott’s death was the result of ignorance and embellishment on the part of the Costco staff, and a combative, deterministic mindset from responding officers.
Other witnesses and the police claim that Eric Scott was armed and acting irrationally, and that his own actions led to his shooting.
What we know for certain is that Scott was in the camping section of the store taking bottles out of their packaging, attempting to determine how many of the bottles would fit in a cooler he was thinking of purchasing. At some point he bent over and his shirt rode up, exposing the pistol he had concealed at the small of his back.
A Costco employee saw the holstered sidearm and told Scott he was not allowed to have the weapon in the store. Scott replied that he had a permit and the right to carry his weapon. He then went back to shopping. The employee called over a manager, who informed a 20-something security guard, who made a 911 call to police.
We do not know precisely what was said in that important call, because the police have refused to release it. We do, however, know from police radio traffic picked up by a scanner that the guard had told police that Erik Scott was armed with a gun, was acting aggressively and erratically, and that he may have been under the influence of drugs.
It must have been a frightening tale: over a dozen police officers responded, along with a helicopter, ambulance, and competing incident command teams.
As the police began to form a massive perimeter outside, Costco managers began evacuating the entire store without apparently explaining why to anyone. As Scott and his girlfriend exited the store he was identified to police officers, who were waiting with guns drawn outside the front door.
A blog from Erik’s family described what happened next:
Erik turned to find three officers facing him, guns drawn, and all three shouting different commands: “Get on the ground!” “Drop your weapon!” “Keep your hands up!” Erik held his hands up, spoke calmly, told them he DID have a concealed firearm and a legal CCW and was an ex-Army officer. His girlfriend was screaming about Erik being a West Point grad, former Army officer, etc. Erik leaned to his left, hands still up, to expose the pistol, and repeated, “I am disarming; I am disarming.” Witnesses say he started to lower his right hand, palm OUT, perhaps intending to remove holster and gun together — but never got the hand below his shoulder, when one of the cops (believed to be William Mosher, who had committed a fatal shooting in 2006) shot Erik in the chest with a .45-caliber semi-automatic weapon. Erik dropped to his knees, clearly in shock, his face a picture of disbelief. He was shot a second time and collapsed. The rest is ugly. The three officers unloaded again, firing a total of seven hollow-point rounds. At least four, possibly five, hit Erik in the back, after he was on the ground and dying.
Two experts hired by Scott’s family examined his body. They claim that of the seven .45 ACP hollowpoint bullets fired into Scott’s body, one was fired through his armpit, suggesting his arm was raised at the time. Four remaining shots were fired into his back. There were no exit wounds, making it all but impossible for police to claim that investigators misread through-and-through wounds.
Metro Police Captain Patrick Neville claimed a different series of events, based in part on the 911 call that police have not released:
I could clearly hear the officers giving commands to the individual to get him on the ground, hear people yelling and screaming in the background. You could hear the shots being fired. When you listen to that, it definitely sends a chill down your spine.
There are no commands or communications between Erik Scott and police captured on a nine-minute audiotape during which the shooting occurred. Officers not directly in front of the store are heard over the radio establishing a perimeter and trying to block off access to the store’s parking lot. The first indication Scott and the police have made contact is when a officer breaks in to call “shots fired” after Scott is on the ground, already dying or dead.
In another interview, Captain Neville claimed Scott did not listen to police commands:
He does not comply with that order. He reaches for the weapon, pulls the weapon out … uh, at which time the weapon was out of the waistband, the officers — three officers — discharged their weapons.
Others on the scene did not see it that way. Robert Garcia directly conflicts the reports of police:
I was close enough to see this guy’s face, and to see his hands, and to see his body go down.
Walking just ten feet in front of Erik Scott, Garcia exited the Costco to see officers with guns drawn. He heard an officer yell: “Put it down! Get down!”
Then he claims four shots were fired, and he instantly turned towards the victim:
After hearing the shots I see the guy going down. I looked at — I saw his hands. His hands had no gun in it. I looked on the ground because — just, I just did that. I looked down and I didn’t see a gun. I saw what I thought were maybe sunglasses. And a pen.
This matches up with several other eyewitness claims that officers William Mosher, Joshua Stark, and Thomas Mendiola fired nearly immediately after shouting conflicting commands at Scott, giving him little or no time to respond. Four other witnesses within 20 feet of the store’s entrance all agree that Scott never brandished a weapon or made a move that could be interpreted as brandishing a weapon.
A coroner’s inquest is to be held next week, but the outcome seems foreordained. In the past 34 years, only one Metro officer has ever been found to have acted improperly out of at least 190 inquests, and that officer wasn’t charged with a crime.
For the record, the Costco did not have signs posted prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons. Scott did not violate any laws in carrying his weapon in the store. It is quite possible that Erik Scott was gunned down without having committed so much as a misdemeanor crime, and that the officers who shot him will be merely the latest exonerated in a long line from an apparently unaccountable police force.
think they are soooooooooooooo tough
never call them if you need help
they come too late
they shoot you instead
they love to exercise their power
they have sh8t for brains
Building up to blowback. So wrong, so easily avoided.
If you call the police, do so in the expectation that you will go to jail. Because whenever the police are called anywhere, they are looking to arrest someone. Their attitude isn’t to find the truth, it’s to make an arrest for their stats.
How wonderful that we have a municipality where the Police almost NEVER act improperly!/s
They sure look out for their own.
“In the past 34 years, only one Metro officer has ever been found to have acted improperly out of at least 190 inquests, and that officer wasnt charged with a crime.”
The same result will happen again. We are living in a police state.
I hate these stories. First because this seems a senseless killing of a man who did nothing wrong. Second because it gives a reason for people to come out and paint all police offers as villains.
i have two cousins whom graduated wp.
something went real bad. in my experience these men and women never exhibit erratic behaviour.
i find my experience is not worth much, lately.
Murder. RIP Erik Scott. The real war is on our second amendment... it is going to get worse before it gets better. Bank on it.
“To hear the side of the story presented by Scotts family, friends, and some eyewitnesses, Erik Scotts death was the result of ignorance and embellishment on the part of the Costco staff, and a combative, deterministic mindset from responding officers.”
“We do not know precisely what was said in that important call, because the police have refused to release it. We do, however, know from police radio traffic picked up by a scanner that the guard had told police that Erik Scott was armed with a gun, was acting aggressively and erratically, and that he may have been under the influence of drugs.”
Second paragraph just CONFIRMS the first paragraph.
These criminals (police) should be facing the death penalty.
in my work I deal with cops all the time and lately they have morphed into a bunch of knuckleheads
Well, playing devils advocate, if the store's policy is no guns (with a sign stating such) and you're found to have one on your person, then you should leave. Regardless if you have a CCW or not.
Here in The Peoples Rep. of Ct, if you don't comply, the cops will come & at the very least you'll be charged with disorderly conduct/trespassing.
Prayers to the families.
Sounds like the security guard wasn’t trained properly regarding the law and procedures regarding confrontation of a possible situation(not probable). His call to 911 was probably frantic(why else would so many cops show up). There is a lot more to this incident than we know, cops want to protect themselves and the family wants the truth.
Hopefully this case will be different as I believe Erik Scott’s dad sounds like a determined man based on other articles I’ve read. Clearly the Metro PD is out of control with some real hotshots out on the street.
Costco also shares real blame in this tragedy with the hysterical call and the ensuing coverup, especially with the video. I’ll never set foot in a Costco again.
I went through a SF pistol course. Kicking in doors, not shooting the ‘prisoner’, that kind of thing. After a while you get conditioned to aquire targets real fast. Well, that’s when the instructors started to mess with you. They put groceries in the terrorists hands, and pistols in the lady ‘prisoner’s hands. This was the second part of the course where they trained you to see what you saw, not what you expected or were jacked up to see. They wanted to burn into you that your mind would play tricks on you.
I don’t think police get that kind of training. They just seem to get a minimal...’Drop the...( bang bang ) gun, and do( bang bang )...’.
I’ve seen plenty of video arrests where one jacked up officer is yelling ‘put your hands up’, another is yelling ‘Don’t move’ and a third is yelling ‘ get down, get down’, while the first officer who yelled ‘get your hands up’ is getting mad because the subject is sort of hands up, down, not moving, getting down, not getting down.
I'm sick and tired of trigger happy cops with their "command" mindsets killing innocent people. If that doesn't happen I hope someone somewhere sets the idiots responsible for this mans death up for some real personal payback.
Just as I said the next day after this occurred, the witnesses near him said police shouted conflicting commands and then shot him before he could do much of anything.
12 of 40 witnesses, who likely weren’t in a position to see what was going on, agreed with the police version of events.
Did you read the article? There was no sign and he was fully legal. I’m not sure what the penalty there is for letting the gun be shown at all though, even accidently. In Texas it used to be fairly severe, but I think they’ve lightened up on it over the years. I still do everything I can do avoid that. If I know someone saw me carrying, I’d be out of there so fast..
Still, there really need to be tapes released here. I’m 99% sure this was a murder.
The last anyone heard they are at a forensics lab in Calif.
It appears there was no sign, but I can’t really tell what exactly happened (I think I recall from another article that there was a security video but it wasn’t released, or it was ruined, or something?)
You know, it’d be a shame if these three officers were found hanging from a cactus somewhere out in the desert. Only sayin’, y’know?
Did ya get the part where I said playing devils advocate?
I agree. I am surprised that a WP grad, on private property, would not with courtesy comply with the responsible request of the property owner or his representative.
I am near radical 2nd Amendment advocate, even for felons who have done their time, but also a private property fiend. If you are on someone’s property, they are the king, and obey or leave, just as you would wish on your property.
That being said, there is no excuse for the poor police procedure and actions, giving him contradictory orders and then killing him.
No excuse for them not releasing the phone call and video tapes.
No excuse for them covering for each other such that only one officer in the entire city over 20 years has ever been found to act improperly (and he wasn't charged with a crime).
Is there no Internal Affairs office in Las Vegas, or are they all asleep at their desks? Not one corrupt officer in all of Las Vegas worthy of prosecution in decades?
In that same Metro Area, the police are noted for ‘getting their man’. Even if he’s not the one who committed a crime.
“It must have been a frightening tale: over a dozen police officers responded, along with a helicopter, ambulance, and competing incident command teams.”
With that much ‘investment’ of manpower and equipment, somebody had to die to justify the cost.
LEO = strictly enforced laws of the ruling class.
I do not trust the anti-second amendment/dope hunter types. Both are willing to knock your door down and stomp through your home like it is a war zone. If they make a mistake, they use lies and misinformation to thwart public outcry or accountability.
That was the last I heard also.....yet Mr. Owens and PJ Media seem to be oblivious to their existance or to the possibility of this evidence having been tampered with.
Perhaps if NO ONE reports on them, they will just cease to exist.
And yet the results of this display of naked incompetence and/or corruption has been a big “so what?” among our nations prosecutors and police departments. As well as a big dose of “they were probably guilty of something anyway, or involved in some way.” despite the forensic impossibility of such.
I really really hope Erik’s parents and his girlfriend get a HUGE chunk of money from COSTCO in the wrongful death lawsuit. The primary root cause was the Costco employee embellishing his call to the police, and strangely the internal Costco security cameras that would have shown what Erik was really doing and acting were “glitched”.
No, We do not know what the guard told police. All we know is what the police told police
Cops cause crimes.
In this case: MURDER of a good man in cold blood.
At least ONE of those three cops is no better, nor deserves less harsh a penalty, than the two beasts currently on trial in Connecticut.
Maybe that's because all these stories are one sided.
Where is the Justice Department. They should be all over this.
Think about it. Corrupto cops don’t want to put their own in the slammer. The inmates wont be to kind to mr. Trigger happy but he belongs behind bars. This really sucks hope there will be some justice for the killers
I agree with your. The actions of the LVPD are not indicative of police departments across the country.
After all, It's LAS VEGAS.
I still put half the blame on the COSTCO SECURITY GUARD. I think the POLICE do as well. Notice that her name, her statements, have not been released. Just like the recording of her 911 call.
The reason? We know, don't we?
COSTCO would lose a lot of business if the 911 call was released. It's always about the money. In Vegas, money trumps human life.
You will never see them, because they would end up costing the CHINESE too much in lost business.
The job of Internal Affairs is not to catch corrupt officers. It's to protect the Department.
you don’t know what the employee said. all we know is the cops gunned the guy down.
Those tapes will probably never see the light of day.
Probably a series of misunderstandings here. There are some people who see anyone who disagrees with them as “aggressive” and that is probably exaccerbated when the individual is armed. Same for acting erratically, as when opening packages you haven’t bought. When cops hear about an armed individual acting aggressively or erratically, it means something different than an argument or opening packages. The other problem is concealed carry means CONCEALED. Accidentally flashing your weapon is a big no-no and the mistake that started the commotion. NONE OF THIS EXCUSES THE BEHAVIOR OF THE TRIGGER HAPPY COPS WHO SHOULD SPEND THEIR LIVES IN JAIL.
And police wonder why the law abiding see them as unleashed pit bulls.
I’m sure there are bad officers out there.
He did. Everyone did. Everyone was asked to leave the building. He wasn't singled out, he wasn't told he had to leave until the others were. The Security Guard pointed him out.They shot him. THREE TIMES to put him down. FOUR MORE TIMES, after he was down(dead) just to be sure.
What seems to happen is you get people who only see one side and they scream and yell and cannot ever see the possibility of a gray area. I wasn’t there. I’m not sure what happened. That’s all. I don’t think all police are bad. I also don’t think they are all always right, and being human I think some are likely bad people who are overly fond of power. I haven’t personally met many of those sorts.