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Costco Police Shooting
Costco Police Shooting

AIR DATE: September 2, 2010

On July 10th, Erik Scott was shot and killed by three Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers outside a Summerlin Costco. Metro says Scott pulled a gun. Some witnesses agree, most disagree. The security tapes from Costco are being held by Metro and will not be released to the public. The inquest has been postponed until September 22. Both Sheriff Gillespie and DA David Roger are up for election in November.

We talk with Bill Scott, Erik's father, who is mounting an aggressive campaign to uncover the truth about what happened to his son on July 10th.

Bill Scott
Ross Goodman, attorney
    comments powered by Disqus
    All it takes is one dirty cop and the others will defend him.
    JanisSep 21, 2010 19:20:54 PM
    I have lived in Las Vegas all my life. I have never been more afraid to make a wrong move towards the police as I fear they will shoot me. It sounds like I am a criminal, no, not at all. I hold a Bachelor's, two Master's, retired after 38 years of public service, unblemished work record. The police are too quick to draw and shoot. Yes, their job is tough and life changing decisions in a moment. But......this shooting is a cover up by the same people who brought us Jim Gibbons "I am innocent of attacking that woman". My gosh, Officer Yant was found no at fault in shooting the small time drug user. Wrong man, wrong weight, wrong state, wrong height, lies lies lies. Melvin Purvis at least got his facts right before shooting Bonnie and Clyde.
    Kim L. ChesleySep 2, 2010 16:31:59 PM
    Sheriff Doug Gillespie's silence tells us everything. Please RESIGN and take the bad apples with you!
    Craig JonesSep 2, 2010 10:21:48 AM
    To the Scott Family,

    My deepest sympathy to the loss of your beloved son Erik. I have been following this case very closely. I hope justice will be served to Erik and your family. Costco and Metro in my opinion should be held accountable for the murder of your son. May justice prevail.

    JenniferAug 30, 2010 21:53:00 PM
    I feel very sorry for the Scott family on their tragic loss. I believe the main culprit, however, is the law that allows the carrying of concealed weapons. Obviously, if Erik had not been carrying a weapon, he never would have been shot and killed. And I cannot imagine why anyone would carry a weapon into Costco. Why did he think he needed one there? What did he think would happen? Unless, of course, he was nervous about all the other people carrying concealed weapons in this city. With the most dismal economy, highest unemployment rate, and highest stress rate in the nation, Las Vegas hardly seems a good place to allow concealed weapons. And I haven't even mentioned gambling and prostitution as additional issues causing stress. I believe that all of these issues cause the police to be more alert and edgy, and while I'm not exonerating the police force at all, I think the law needs to be revisited. I wish you would do a show debating this issue.
    Pat FesciAug 30, 2010 11:23:10 AM
    Pat, maybe you should move out of Nevada because in Nevada, it's citizen's voted to enable Citizens to legally carry firearms. Anyone in Nevada can openly carry. That's the law. I hope you are never in a situation where a firearm could have saved your life. Are you aware of all of the shootings occurring around our country? Do you think Costco is on an island in regards to these shootings?
    Christopher LevyAug 30, 2010 11:25:39 AM
    Pat, you do realize it was not his gun that shot him? How about we blame it on all the anti-gun loons that pollute the streets? His was gunned down by 3 officers for no reason. 2.5 ounces of common sense is all that is needed to see this unless you wear blinders?

    Let's take the guns away from the people that murder starting with 3 officers in Metro

    johnSep 1, 2010 14:52:40 PM
    I find it highly suspect to discuss the nature of the police officers behavior and of the process by which officers are involved in shooting when those people, specifically Mr. Scott's father have the most specious of knowledge about what officers go through on a day-to-day basis. Not only is hindsight 20/20, and as the saying goes "it's easy to Monday-morning quarterback" but not a single individual that I've yet heard on this show has ever been placed in a life and death situation where they've been required to decide to take a life or potentially lose there own in a matter of seconds. And every time a holier than thou person has gone through Metro's citizen's academy and been placed in a shoot/no shoot situation with simulated ammunition (simunitions) they have failed, and failed miserably. The point has been to show the incredible strain officer are placed under everyday and yet they are expected, if not ordered by the public writ large to act both aggressively to apprehend suspects, to use their magical ability to stop crimes before they occur, and yet never show emotion, never respond with any sense of fear or apprehension when making decisions that could end their lives.
    SethAug 30, 2010 11:18:17 AM
    Erik Scott was not committing a crime of any kind when he was shot. Erik Scott was a Military Veteran who had _extensive_ training in firearms, firearm safety, the dynamics of firefights and he was a licensed concealed handgun citizen. His father is also a Veteran with similar training. It's hard to believe you would try and discount that under the guise that these cops were under "incredible strain" when they were not. There were not shots fired. There was no firefight or injuries or deaths prior to them arriving on the scene. The question isn't whether Private Citizens can pass a shoot/no shoot test. The question is...can these 3 police officer who killed Erik...can they pass this test? Did they pass it?
    Christopher LevyAug 30, 2010 11:23:32 AM
    I myself am a friend of the officers involved in this shooting and while I will not speak to the specific details of this shooting, I can assure you that Mr. Scott's father couldn't be more off-base with his assumption that the officers would be high-fiving each other and spouting off about having got away with taking someone's life. I have heard similar talk of the reckless behavior of officers in just about every major metropolitan area of the US. Every city is apparently home to the worst officers anyone has ever experienced, yet those same people seem to neglect the fact that Las Vegas, through no fault of the police, is in fact one of the most violent and dangerous cities in the US. And while there are clearly those officers who abuse their authority, and overreact to perceived threats, this was not one of those cases. Officers are people with wives, husbands, children, dreams and fears. They are not brainwashed to be ruthless killers and I can assure you, are quite loathe to use deadly force in nearly every circumstance. Killing is a huge responsibility even when one is justified to do so, and yet is a decision some are forced to make and to live with.
    SAug 30, 2010 13:14:14 PM
    ...and yet you make bold statements here that seem to defend the police and exonerate them of the crime without providing details. You weren't there. You don't know what happened. Your statements are hollow.

    It's clear the police made mistakes. Maybe Erik made some too. The responsibility however for Erik's death lies with those who shot him. Whether or not they broke any laws will of course be up to the LVPD's secret hearing and its results. That being said, it's pretty clear a civil jury is also going to weigh in.

    Christopher LevyAug 31, 2010 10:02:48 AM
    The Bee Caves Police responded with an officer who first entered World Market where we had gone after Michaels. He tailed me for a few mins and then as I exited the store, the officers were very polite and just stopped me, asked me to keep my hands away from my waist and asked me for my Concealed Handgun License. They explained someone had seen my weapon when I reached up to grab the Christmas Garland and they felt I was a threat. After some smiles and laughs, the officers asked me to please stay concealed in the future and keep an eye out for people who might observe me in public while carrying. They handed me my wallet back and left.

    This should be the model for Police Departments nationwide. Concealed Carry Licensees have demonstrated a trust far beyond the unlicensed public and we should be treated as such.

    And finally, NPR, what you did with hanging up on me repeatedly even after I was on hold for 42 mins, and then picking up the phone when I called back, mentioning "it's that guy in Texas again" and then hanging up on me...that's disgusting. Clearly you wanted to slant this conversation. I hope and pray you are never in a situation where you need to defend yourself and can't.

    Christopher LevyAug 30, 2010 11:12:08 AM
    Mr. Levy,

    You make an important observation, yet I think you may have missed to point of my comment. If citizens, regardless of their background or training experience demand a certain threshold of discretion when officers are involved in uses of deadly force, they should consider being familiar with the scientific realities of reaction times, physiological responses to high stress situations and the fact that officers, unlike the vast vast majority of private citizens, are required to make life and death decisions within seconds of recognizing a threat in the first place. Additionally, the notion that officers need to respond to some violent in-progress felony crime in order to justify their use of deadly force misses the larger point entirely. Mr.Scott was in fact at the Costco in question, and police were in fact dispatched to that location to deal with a disturbance call involving, at least on some notable level, Mr. Scott himself. The vast majority of calls where officers are feloniously killed, are not in fact violent in nature at their onset. They are 'routine' domestic disturbances, 'routine' traffic stops and 'routine' disturbance calls. Something to consider...

    SAug 30, 2010 13:36:04 PM

    I respect what you are saying here and I agree. What seems to be a glaring red flag here is the manner in which LVPD responded. Do they have an SOP for handling CCW false alarms? This man was shopping for camping goods and he ended up dead over confusion between the store and the police. I think with Erik's death, it's time that LVPD and PD's around the country, came up with clear SOPs for dealing with a CCW false alarm and then putting this out to the instructors who provide the curriculum through which CCW licensees pass. TO me that's the major disconnect here. LVPD didn't have an SOP for dealing with these types of situations and it cost someone their life. Similarly, I noticed that Costco NV has a different policy than Costco TX for example. This should be reviewed.

    Christopher LevyAug 31, 2010 10:06:16 AM
    Ok here's what we learned today: NPR=Wildly Anti-Gun: Dave tried over and over and over to steer this whole dialogue back into the dead-end notion that Erik caused his own death by lawfully carrying a concealed handgun. Repeatedly when presented with overwhelming evidence that Erik did nothing wrong, that the Costco employees and the LVPD grossly mis-managed this situation, all Dave could do was try to infer Erik was responsible for his own death.Dave you did the entire nation a disservice with your rhetoric and inability to grasp the situation.The reason Erik is dead is clear. LVPD did not have an OFFICER IN CHARGE on site. They had responding officers but nobody IN CHARGE. Costco made this situation worse by not having a Standard Operational Procedure in place and their security guard obviously inflamed the situation and quite possibly is negligent here in Erik's death.I was involved in a very similar situation last year here in Austin. I was shopping in Michaels with my wife and reached up to grab a Christmas Garland off the rack. Apparently another customer in the store thought I was a threat shopping for Christmas Garlands and told the store who called the Bee Caves Police.
    Christopher LevyAug 30, 2010 11:07:31 AM
    My sympathies to the Scott family. For metro to be allowed to hijack and "hide" the surveillance tapes and then to claim "Aha!" There's a "glitch" with tapes..." - smells like a rotting, stinking fish. It's way past time to clean out metro. Mr. Scott was publicly executed by the Las Vegas badge.

    Good cops need to start speaking out.

    Pat Scott Aug 30, 2010 10:57:43 AM
    Some officers are killers with a badge. Recall that Officer George Pease killed three people on three separate occasions and was simply reassigned to Laughlin.
    AlanAug 30, 2010 10:46:56 AM
    I have been listening to the program and my condolences to the Scott family, but based on this last caller it all of sudden makes a whole lot more sense of what happened...

    Again I'm sorry to hear that Scott is gone but common sense was not applied here.

    MattAug 30, 2010 10:33:21 AM
    My thoughts exactly, if he would have done what the officers told him to do instead of trying to be a rebel we would not have this discussion right now...
    GregAug 30, 2010 11:02:59 AM
    Right because obeying the laws and being a lawful Citizen and Veteran clearly say REBEL with BIG RED LETTERS.

    Were either of you there? If you were, did you give the police your statement?

    Christopher LevyAug 30, 2010 14:14:40 PM
    A Jury of your peers....huh!

    Did Trevon Cole get a jury of his peers? 6 whites, 1 hispanic. I say not!! The Coroner's Inquest is a JOKE!

    I feel for the Scott family and the Cole family. The Carrillo family won't even get an Inquest. Why?

    GinaAug 30, 2010 10:20:51 AM
    Given the past history of questionable shootings, and coupled with the various deaths of the police officers involved in high speed accidents (not chasing or involved in pressing police business at the time) when found driving without proper restraints, seatbelts, and sometime without lights, it is patently obvious there is a serious lack of training among the ranks. And almost as unbelievable, there had to be numerous events before procedures were changes by the Chief of Police, the orders to all officers wear seat belts! unbelievable.

    The shooting of the ice cream lady with her two sons present. The police lost5 the case and the spouse was awarded millions. The shooting of the prisoner in the back while in handcuffs, and the numerous shooting lately, already in discussion by your panel. We have put up with this for much too long and it is long overdue for change.

    mary giuchiciAug 30, 2010 10:20:46 AM
    Well said, Mary!
    GinaAug 30, 2010 10:22:43 AM
    My uncle is a metro officer not involved in this event. This has come up at family gatherings, He stated metro officers are not directed to request a suspect with a holstered weapon to disarm, they are trained to direct the suspect to keep their arms up, drop to their knees, lay face down on the ground, then one of the officers would approch the suspect and remove the weapon.
    kevinAug 30, 2010 10:16:14 AM
    Sure I am positive your Cop Uncle and his friends would like Concealed Licensees to lay face down on the ground. That's absurd. We have been through numerous Federal and State Background checks. We are providing protection to the community far beyond the scope of the Police. There's no need to lay down face down on the ground unless a CHL licensee is in process of breaking the law. There are better ways to handle situations like this. I had the exact same situation happen to me here in Austin with no problem. It's clear LVPD didn't have a policy to deal with this.
    C. LevyAug 30, 2010 10:23:39 AM
    Raised in Nevada
    Attended West Point with Eric
    CHL in Texas
    Had the same experience with Police here in a store without incident.
    Would like to comment on that and the safety issues around carrying concealed in a modern society.

    Christopher LevyAug 30, 2010 10:05:41 AM
    Erik's father mentioned "anti-gun hysteria". What about "2nd Amendment hysteria" and "open carry hysteria"? Erik Scott for some reason made a decision to carry a weapon. Yes, he had a permit and was legally carrying but that decision to carry did contribute to his death. In the Las Vegas valley the majority of its residents do not feel the need to carry a loaded weapon.
    JuhDuhAug 30, 2010 10:04:55 AM
    You are clearly making a huge leap of faith assumption. Erik did nothing wrong. He was within the LAW. Costco clearly mishandled this situation. Had someone come into this store shooting the place up and Erik had saved lives this would be a different conversation now.

    Fitting water bottles into a backpack isn't illegal.

    This guy speaking right now is a sad case of slander. "I feel?" That's just unbelievable.

    Complied with which officer? All 3?

    A backpack from THE STORE... NOT his personal backpack.

    C. LevyAug 30, 2010 10:29:51 AM
    Being from Cleveland, the first thing We (wife and I) noticed was the number of police shootings. The past two years, I have come to know the police as bullies. Being a free-lance photographer, I have been run off several times from public areas photographing the police at traffic stops and roadside questionings... As far as Eric, I told my wife when it happened that two guns on a person was not the norm... I think a cop did not see a gun after the shooting and a cop gave Eric his throw-away so they can say he had a gun. Cosco should have given the police a COPY of the tapes. The killings have to stop. Stop hiring kids and giving them guns. You should not be hired as a police officer till you are 26. This whole thing is a cover-up
    RobertAug 30, 2010 09:55:29 AM
    Mr. Scott, I am terribly sorry for your loss. I am confused by the Costco policy of not allowing guns in stores. Is this a store by store policy? My girlfriend and I have on more than one occasion witnessed a gentleman at the Henderson Costco wearing a "Support Open Carry" t-shirt and openly carrying. This does not add up: Overreaction at one store and open carry at another!
    joshuaAug 30, 2010 09:36:47 AM
    okay, so why on earth would Scott have wanted to "disarm" instead of abiding by commands to get on the ground... with all due respect Sir, if he was an Army officer shouldn't he have known that with his training...?
    AnthonyAug 30, 2010 09:36:32 AM
    Greg, I think you are missing a critical component of this story. It seems as though Eric Scott was following orders...its just that he was given three different commands (all of which conflicted). We'll all hopefully have access to the facts fully at some point...for now this appears to be a case of conflicting store policy, inexperienced staff (Costco and Metro), and conflicting commands which resulted in an unfortunate and wrongful shooting of a person, justified in having a weapon and trying to execute a command given to him by an officer of the law.
    JoshAug 30, 2010 09:43:18 AM

    For the record, there are no witnesses who have come forward that have said on the record that Erik was trying to disarm himself in any way.

    One of the few things Army officers are not trained to do is to "follow commands" and lay on the ground. More than likely, Erik had never been instructed about what to do in this situation. It's actually NOT part of a CCW or CHL classroom criteria as best I can tell. I think that LVPD and NV CCW instructors need to come up with an SOP for these types of situations. That would have clearly helped here.

    Christopher LevyAug 31, 2010 10:09:15 AM
    I would like to know why this gentleman refused to ignore the request about not enter the store with the firearms and why in addition to that he became argumentative with the store manager to the point where they had to evacuate the store...
    GregAug 30, 2010 09:24:26 AM
    He was never asked to "not enter the store" he was shopping with his girlfriend and being helped by the employee that noticed the weapon. There was no argument or scene. The employee continued to help him with the canteens the whole time.
    ChrisAug 30, 2010 10:02:43 AM
    my condolences to your family. i am interested in your opinion of conceal carry laws, and if they may have changed due to this tragic but very predictable outcome?
    PeterAug 30, 2010 09:18:20 AM
    Just wait until someone you care about dies in a negligent, "predictable" way.
    MattSep 15, 2010 17:36:02 PM
    I am interested to know if there has been a coronor's inquest in Southern Nevada that has resulted in a Not Justified action by police. If so, what were the circumstances that led to a Not Justified result?
    Sonja BrouwersAug 30, 2010 09:06:27 AM
    Mr. Scott,

    My condolences to you and your family on the occasion of your deep loss.

    There have been many police shootings in the past where the local media has kept the public informed and the pressure on our elected officials by reporting the latest news regrding these incidents. What are you seeking to accomplish by engaging the media so often regarding your son's death that the media is failing to accomplish?

    Jim in HendersonAug 30, 2010 08:54:44 AM
    The employees of Costco are under a gag order by the company and the lawyers... what actally happened has never been reported by the media because of this, so this show will be sort of 1 sided....
    Audrey FreedmanAug 30, 2010 08:53:44 AM
    Thank you Mr. Scott for preasuring Metro. You have my heartfelt support. The last police shooting was AGAIN found to be justified. Are you concerned that your son's death will also be found justified to avoid a possible racial controversy? I sincerely hope your tragedy is not shadowed by politics.
    LoriAug 30, 2010 08:36:40 AM
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