September 26, 2010

The Erik Scott Shooting: Update 3

Since the second update, many interesting developments have come to light and many questions have been answered, or at least, more informed suppositions can reasonably be made. However, complete and accurate original source videos and audio and transcripts are still not available, making accurate analysis difficult. Sadly, far too many of the details remain unknown, and perhaps, purposely or even criminally so. In update four of this series, I’ll get into more specific analysis of an audio/transcript of the initial 9-11 call from Costco security employee Shai (pronounced “Shay”) Lierley to a metro dispatcher, and will try to synchronize a partial transcript of police radio traffic to that 9-11 call to produce a more complete picture of events. This update, the third, will deal primarily with analysis of Inquest testimony and related issues.

Readers commenting on the first two installments have raised concerns about the relative veracity of police officers and lawyers in interpretation of the issues relating to this case. Each has an important role to play in the criminal justice system, and sometimes, those roles overlap, to the discomfort of all involved. Perhaps it would be useful to address an issue that will become more important as the case goes on: The relationships of lawyers--defense and prosecutorial--with the police.

Police attorney relationships are far more complex than one might imagine, and seldom anything like those depicted on TV police dramas. Describing them as love/hate relationships might be a good baseline for further consideration. Attorneys generally consider themselves to be more educated and thus, more intelligent than police officers who by comparison often have no higher education. While more and more police agencies are requiring at least an associate’s degree (two years of college), a substantial portion of American police officers have only a high school education.

This is not, in and of itself, a bar to excellence in law enforcement. In many ways, excellent officers are born with a particular set of genetic endowments that give them distinct and obvious advantages over others regardless of their respective amounts of higher education. Simply put, some people are just born better capable of excelling in some jobs than others. While a reasonable argument can be made that an undergraduate degree has the potential to produce a well rounded individual with a broad base of potentially useful knowledge, common sense and street smarts tend to trump a bachelor’s any day in police work. At the same way, law schools produce graduates with a very wide range of practical abilities. Abraham Lincoln, for example, was known as an outstanding lawyer, but spent not a day in law school.

Some attorneys find it difficult to see police officers as professionals, looking down on them in very real ways. Police officers tend not to respond well to condescension, and this can lead to real tension in the relationships between officers and prosecutors in particular. It should not be assumed that prosecutors are automatically friends and colleagues of the police, and it should surely not be assumed that they will, always and in every case, support or cover for the police. This makes perfect sense if a given prosecutor believes officers to be lower than him or herself on the evolutionary ladder.

However, it can almost always be expected that defense attorneys will have an adversarial relationship with the police. The old maxim stands true: If the law and the facts are on your side, argue the law and the facts. If not, attack the police. Lawyers on all sides are supposed to seek justice above all, but some defense attorneys are predisposed to believe that the police are dim witted perjurers and brutalizing racists, and feeling the system thereby stacked against themselves and their clients, sometimes cut corners to try to even the playing field that they perceive is tilted in the prosecution’s favor. Such male lawyers often wear ponytails. Go figure.

It may also be useful to consider that most attorneys are not, in fact, expert in the Constitution and the law as it applies to the criminal justice system (as in medicine, lawyers generalize or specialize), and that many police officers may often have more practical knowledge of specific statutes, procedures and methods than many attorneys. In my final police assignment, I was a detective specializing in stalking and the burglary of vehicles. In that role, I of necessity learned a great deal about the related statutes, court precedent relating to search and seizure, psychology, the applicable insurance statutes and many other esoteric bits of knowledge. Knowing this, prosecutors--and sometimes defense attorneys--often asked questions about where to find specific statutes, their interpretation and application and related issues. I doubt that any of them considered me a law enforcement Einstein (nor did I), but they were practical enough to consult a useful, available source. Wise men know and accept, above all, what they don’t know.

With this in mind, can any meaningful conclusions be drawn from the apparent relationship of the Las Vegas prosecutors and the Metro Police? Can reasonable inferences be made based on the performance of the police and prosecutors in the Coroner’s Inquest and the eventual verdict? Indeed they can.


Scott has been overwhelmingly portrayed by prosecutors as a drug addict so badly and visibly impaired by drugs that he was prostrating himself on check out conveyors, throwing merchandise about the store, threatening and alarming staff and customers, and who, when confronted by police, drew and pointed a weapon at them, causing them to immediately shoot him seven times, according to Dr. Alane Olson a medical examiner with the Las Vegas Coroner’s Office. Two rounds initially fired by Officer William Mosher struck Scott in the chest, and five fired by Officers Joshua Start and Thomas Mendiola, struck him from the rear, including one that entered Scott’s buttocks, traversed his bowels and lodged in his chest. These five bullets, but particularly the bullet that entered Scott’s buttocks, will figure prominently in the future. Olson also testified that Scott had “lethal levels” of Morphine and Xanax in his blood.” However, several witnesses contradicted the prosecution’s tone and theory. Because no cross examination of witnesses was allowed, it’s difficult to tell with certainty if these statements were an unexpected and unwelcome surprise to the prosecutors or were included in an attempt to provide the appearance of balance to the televised proceedings.


Arlene Houghton, a cashier, said Scott lost his balance and “tumbled onto a checkout conveyor belt, ” and that Samantha Sterner, Scott’s girlfriend, propped him up on a shopping cart. Houghton said Scott’s face was flushed, his eyes unfocused and glassy. “He turned around and looked at me and said, ‘I guess I really am (expletive)-up,’ and they walked away.”

Cashier John Nikitas said Scott knocked over a sign. “He told the lady with him, ‘I told you I should not be in this effing place when I’m this drunk.’”

Coleen Kullberg, a part time Costco employee was leaving the store and saw Scott staring at an officer who told him to get on the ground “at least five times.” She said “he reached behind him and pulled out his gun and aimed it at the that time the officer shot him.” Kullberg described Scott, just prior to being shot: “He was like dazed. He was just looking at him. He wasn’t obeying any of his commands.”

Security Officer Shai Lierley and Assistant Manager Vince Lopez spoke with Scott separately and told him that his gun wasn’t allowed. According to Lopez, Scott became “extremely agitated,” and told Lopez “’s a (expletive)-up policy and he continued to say he was a Green Beret, he could carry a gun wherever he went, and he wasn’t going to put up with that.” Lopez also testified that Scott imitated a gun with his hand, put it to Lopez’s head and said that if someone really did that, he would take care of the situation.

Customer Annette Eatherton saw Scott, being confronted by the officers, reach for his waist, and heard an officer say, “‘don’t do that, don’t do that,’ and he did it and they shot him.” After the first shot, Eatherton saw a gun in a “gun rug” fall to the ground in front of Scott. Annette’s husband Wentworth gave similar testimony but thought that Scott was trying to disarm, not shoot.


Edward Fishman heard an officer order Scott to “drop it,” and heard no other commands. He could not see anything in Scott’s hands and saw Scott reach toward his side, his shirt came up, and he was shot. Fishman did not see or hear Scott take an aggressive stance, point anything at the officer, or say anything. Fishman, a physician, said that after being shot, Scott’s hands were above his head before he fell to his knees and then face down on the ground. Fishman did not see anything drop from Scott’s hands or anything on the ground near him.

Fishman watched an officer handcuff Scott, but no one checked his pulse. Fishman testified that he was so shocked and surprised that none of the officers did anything to help Scott that he was to afraid to approach and ask to assist.

Customer Wendy Wolkenstein saw an officer with his gun drawn confront Scott outside the store. The officer was yelling at Scott to get down on the ground. Herding her children behind cover, she saw Scott’s elbow move back toward his waist or pocket and the officers fired. Looking back at Scott, she saw his hands in the air. She did not hear Scott say anything to the officers, but his back was to her.

Scott’s girlfriend, Samantha Sterner, did not testify, possibly on the advice of her attorney, who told the media that she was anxious to testify, but not in a one-sided forum. Prosecutors instead played a recording of her statement to police made after the shooting.

Sterner told the police that Scott was acting normally and his interaction with Costco employees was “amicable,” though she said she wasn’t present for all of those interactions. She did tell Scott, as they walked toward the exit that he was probably the reason for the evacuation, and he seemed “surprised.” Sterner saw an employee point out Scott to a uniformed officer as they stepped outdoors.

“He (Officer William Mosher) immediately draws his weapon and tells him to get on the ground,” Sterner said, adding that Scott put his hands up, intending to disarm. Sterner screamed at the officers that Scott was in the military and had a concealed weapons permit. She told them not to shoot, but when Scott raised his shirt to reveal the gun and “...grabbed it to put it on the ground...”Mosher fired. Sterner believes that Mosher “...was too aggressive...” and believes he would have fired no matter what Scott did. "I just think that this officer was out of line,” she said.


Dr. Joseph Gnoyski did not believe that Scott was a drug seeker and took drugs to deal with pain, the treatment of which is Gnoyski’s speciality. He testified that Scott had a physiological dependency, and that over time, he was getting better. Of the three testifying physicians, only Gnoyski testified to ordering an MRI or similar diagnostic test for Scott. The MRI indicated that he did have back damage, which Gnoyski attributed to a “paratrooping accident,” “a football accident,” and “a more recent automobile accident.”

Gnoyski said “This guy [Scott] works out every day. It’s not like he is seeking a buzz just to lie around...I don’t believe this man was trying to get a buzz...It just doesn’t mesh with his character.” Gnoyski described Scott as an "elite athlete."

During a casual visit to his office, Gnoyski felt that Scott appeared groggy. “It wasn’t like he was out of control, that he was going crazy.” Gnoyski drafted a letter to terminate their relationship, but changed his mind. Gnoyski said “I have a lot of respect for him.”

Dr. Shari Klein treated Scott for about two years, until about ten months prior to the shooting. Klein testified that Scott, at some point, suggested that she prescribe Hydrocordone, but she did not prescribe that particular medication. She said that Scott stopped seeing her when she began a concierge practice (where a physician sees a limited number of patients, charging substantially more for the individual treatment) and he could no longer afford her.

Dr. Daniel Kim testified that he began treating Scott on 02-02-10 for chronic pain. Kim prescribed medication but felt that Scott was taking too much: “He doubled up everything that I gave to him.” Kim, who felt that Scott had an addiction to Hydrocordone, terminated Scott and gave him a list of detoxification centers. Kim would not agree that interactions with Scott led to Scott’s being shot but thought that he might have more forcefully suggested detoxification.

TESTIMONY ANALYSIS: This testimony attempts to portray Scott as a man so under the influence of drugs that he could barely stand, yet he also reportedly said that he was drunk, though the sources consulted for this article did not mention the presence of alcohol in Scott’s blood. Significant in the testimony of the doctors is the absence of the common behavior of drug addicts who try to trick multiple doctors to simultaneously prescribe large amounts of narcotic medications. Scott apparently sought out medical treatment for intractable pain, which was actually physiologically based, and worked with single physicians in turn.

Most witnesses testified that Scott not only did not respond to officers, but drew his weapon and pointed it at the officers, though one saw only an elbow moving toward Scott’s back and saw Scott’s hands “in the air” moments after being shot. Officer commands heard by witnesses range from “don’t do that; don’t do that,” to “get on the ground,” and “drop it,” but no clear picture was drawn of the time frame or circumstances, including which of the three officers made these statements or why.

Only one of the witnesses saw a gun “in a gun rug” fall to the ground. The others did not see a gun or see Scott point a gun at the officers. According to police testimony and a photograph produced at the Inquest, Scott’s .45 ACP 1911 type handgun at some point and in some way, made it to the ground somewhere near him and was photographed by police, reportedly where it was found. The weapon displayed in the photograph was still fully in its inside the waistband holster, cocked and locked (the most common method for carrying this type of handgun, with the safety apparently still on. What is most interesting is that the holster completely enclosed the trigger guard and trigger of the weapon on both sides of the frame. In order for Scott to have fired the weapon, he would have had to push his trigger finger between the leather, which was still likely tightly molded to the frame of the weapon, and the frame, snap off the safety--which was also at least partially, possibly fully, covered by the holster--with his thumb, or more likely, would have had to remove the holster, which would have taken a very emphatic and forceful downward flinging motion if made one handed, or most likely, would have required that Scott grasp the holster with his left hand to pull it from the handgun. Either option would have taken very obvious movements and time, time which Scott was not afforded. None of the witnesses testified to this. The testimony to date seems to support Sterner’s contention that Scott, surprised and trying to respond to conflicting commands delivered simultaneously and in a matter of seconds, was trying to disarm.

What is also missing from the media accounts is any time frame. A man removing a weapon to disarm himself does not move with the speed and obvious intent of a man trying to bring a muzzle on target to fire, yet there has been apparently no attempt by the prosecution to clarify this point. One might argue that an officer cannot be expected to tell the difference between a holstered, safed handgun being voluntarily surrendered and an unholstered handgun being brought rapidly, aggressively onto target, but this kind of situation is common in shoot/don’t shoot training and officers are expected to be well trained and calm enough to take the few fractions of a second necessary to be sure before firing. It is not easy, but no one is forced to become a police officer.

What is also remarkable is that while the prosecution and police have acknowledged the firing of seven rounds and at least generally accounted for the final resting places of those rounds, there has been no statement about the possible firing of additional rounds and where they came to rest. This is significant in that studies have uniformly found that in officer shootings, commonly less than 30% of rounds fired by officers strike their intended targets. Are we to understand that these three officers fired only seven rounds, and that all seven were hits? This would be particularly amazing if any of the rounds were fired after Off. Mosher’s original two rounds struck Scott in the chest. At that point, Scott fell to his knees and then onto his face, which presents another significant problem for the police and prosecution.

At the time of the shooting, Off. Moser, 38, had been working for LV Metro for approximately five years and one month. Media accounts have not indicated if he had prior law enforcement experience, but do speak of his involvement in one prior police shooting. This is also significant, but more on this shortly. Off. Joshua Stuart, 28, had been with Metro approximately one year and 11 months. Again, I’m unaware of any prior police experience. Off. Thomas Mendiola, 23, had been with Metro approximately one year and four months. Considering his age, it would have been unlikely that he had any prior police experience as 21 is the minimum age for police service virtually everywhere.

We do not, as yet, know exactly where the officers stood relative to Scott, or their distances from him at the time each shot was fired. Did they remain stationary until shooting ceased, or were they moving as they fired? We still do not know why they fired after Mosher’s initial two shots. Most disturbing, however is the improbability of Scott taking five rounds in the back under the currently known circumstances. The only reasonable scenario presented by the evidence known to the public is that Scott was facing all three officers who were also facing him. We can assume that the officers, two of whom had little apparent time on the job (this is a significant issue--ask any experienced cop), may have tried to move to one side or the other, remembering basic tactics, but all were likely oriented facing Scott, with one or two perhaps at a slight angle to his sides. All the testimony indicates that after the initial two shots, Scott dropped to his knees and then, fell forward, toward the officers, onto his face. Struck twice in the heart, he was likely rapidly bleeding out internally, and rapidly dropping blood pressure may have rendered him more or less immediately unconscious.

How then is it possible that he took five additional rounds in the back, and who fired them? Did any of the officers very quickly move around Scott, placing Scott between himself and his fellow officers? Did they fire while he was falling, or more likely, only after he was already face down? The Medical Examiner testified that she could not tell the distances from the muzzles of any of the shots, nor do media accounts reveal the tracks of any of the rounds, with one exception.

It is reasonable to believe, particularly with the unusual, one might say, phenomenal quality of the marksmanship displayed by the officers that they were quite close to Scott, which is, in and of itself, very significant. Let’s assume for the sake of an experiment that Scott is face down, his head toward the officers. Pace off ten or twelve feet--the width of many rooms in many homes--and, placing a friend, or if you’re a bit squeamish, a pillow, on the floor in Scott’s position relative to the officers, and point your imaginary handgun at the target. At even that distance, the human back is a small, hard to hit target and any rounds fired would travel downward, likely lodging in the pelvis, buttocks, or even the thighs. In any case, the bullet tracks would be at a steep angle and would traverse a great deal of the body unless they struck large bones. Moving closer to the target, notice how the angle changes, until, standing over the body, the target becomes much, much easier to hit--the distance from muzzle to body being two feet or less--and the bullets would traverse the body at an approximate right angle.

For the prosecution’s theory, however, the most vexing problem is the bullet that entered Scott’s buttocks, traversed his pelvis and lodged in his chest. Unless the muzzle of the handgun that fired the round was near the ground when the round was fired, it’s hard to imagine how this could have occurred unless the officer was not only behind Scott when the round was fired, and thus had placed Scott between himself and the other officers--a virtual circular firing squad all officers are taught to avoid at all costs--but was also diving to the ground or on the ground at the time. One other possibility is that the round was fired by a standing officer, and the bullet, striking the pelvis or spine, was deflected on an internal path parallel with Scott’s prone body, but the ME did not so testify, and the problem of how an officer, in what was a mere handful of seconds, was able to maneuver into a position that would make any of this possible still exists.

Off. Mosher’s reported prior shooting, which was apparently found to be justified, is of interest because the overwhelming majority of police officers complete their careers without having fired their weapons at anyone. Thus, the officer who has had to shoot a suspect on even one occasion is, in most police agencies, unusual. An officer who has shot two or more, in a short span of years, is even more unusual. This does not in and of itself prove wrong doing on the part of such an officer. Perhaps he was merely unlucky. Perhaps he worked in high risk areas, or in an assignment that made violent confrontations more likely. But the fact that this was Off. Mosher’s second shooting should cause anyone investigating this case to be extra careful to pay attention to detail, as should any prosecutor charged with reviewing the case in making a charging decision because thankfully, Off. Mosher is in an exclusive class among American police.

Some commenters have suggested that police officers look for opportunities to shoot citizens in a soft of bizarre initiation rite. Thankfully, the statistics, and experience, do not bear this out. Indeed, officers wonder how they will perform in a deadly force encounter, perhaps even hope that they might have the chance, but there is nothing sinister in this. In fact, they are repeatedly confronted with this issue in employment interviews and training. They have to consider such issues and be willing to run to, rather than away from, the sound of gunfire. Any officer who has asked him or herself whether they can and will fire at another human being, possibly taking their life, if necessary, and who has not answered firmly and affirmatively, is a danger to them self and the public. Officers are comforted by the knowledge that the odds are on their side; it is unlikely that they will ever find themselves in that situation. Still, type A, adrenaline fueled personalities--and in many respects, that’s who we want for police officers when maniacs intent or rape or worse are breaking into our homes--will wonder, and anticipate and train hard to be prepared if the worst ever comes to pass. That is what we pay them to do. And they will pray that they do the right thing and go home that night when their shift is done.

One of the fundamental questions in this case is whether any Costco employee actually asked Scott to leave the store and if so, his response to that request. It is reasonable to believe that if anyone representing Costco had asked Scott to leave at any time, the police would have noted it and the prosecutor would have been sure to secure such testimony, but thus far, this does not seem to be the case. Considering the very negative thrust of the other evidence presented to Scott’s detriment, if such evidence, of an angry, armed man refusing a lawful order to leave the premises existed, surely it would have been made public at the inquest, but it has not.

Also interesting is the exclusive testimony secured by Confederate Yankee regarding Scott’s character by a competitor of Scott’s. This testimony, which was not produced during the Inquest as the witness fears Metro and prosecutorial reprisal, does not support the negative character sketch drawn by the prosecution.

As expected, no Costco or other video was presented at the Inquest. Recent information indicates that the police will claim that all of the Costco video from every camera that might have captured an image simply does not exist due to an technical malfunction known to Costco before the event which was not corrected until after the event. While this is possible, one would surely be forgiven for questioning the convenience--for the police--of this kind of coincidence, particularly when such video has the potential to unambiguously resolve the central issues in the case. Whether any police recordings exist may never be known. At the very least, media outlets may be able to provide footage which indicates whether any police vehicles potentially equipped with video were pointing toward the area of the shooting. Most police video cameras are focused through the windshields of patrol cars. If it can be established that any police vehicles were pointed in that direction, the possibility of police video exists.

A quick side note in response to several posters: The criminal justice system is often behind times in adopting standards of evidence that reflect the latest, greatest technology. In all matters of evidence, original sources and items are virtually the universally required standard, though judges do usually have some flexibility in interpreting the related statutes. However, that interpretation will almost always take place long after evidence is gathered. The police will reasonably believe that they are required to gather original materials and sources unless they are absolutely certain that copies will suffice.

The potentially missing video remains, at the very least, a public relations disaster for the police, and one which may not go unnoticed by local political leaders. The Law Vegas Review-Journal reported on 09-25-10 that Clark County Commissioners were concerned by the “skewed” proceedings and would form a committee to review potential changes in the Inquest system to allow a more adversarial approach more likely to expose all of the relevant facts necessary to produce a fair result. In response, prosecutors said that in a more adversarial hearing, “police officers might not testify.” This should be cause for real public concern in that any prosecutor knows that officers have no choice about such matters and are required by law to testify. Officers know this too. In fact, prosecutors routinely issue subpoenas mandating the appearance of officers at even routine hearings. This should be a matter of concern for Las Vegas residents as it may indicate that the prosecutors involved hold a low opinion of the intelligence of the public or may care little for what the public thinks. Yet at the moment, at least the potential for limited reform may exist.

Another bit of missing video, or potentially photography, is images of the merchandise allegedly strewn all over Costco by Scott. Several store employees have testified that Scott was so deranged that he was, in a virtual frenzy, ripping open merchandise and actually throwing it in all directions. If this was so, and to the degree suggested by Costco employee testimony, surely the police photographed it? Yet no media account of which I am aware mentions such evidence. It is another interesting coincidence that if the police did not record such potentially meaningful evidence, all internal and external Costco store video for that time is also apparently lost.

So it would appear that the prosecutors and the police are indeed on the same page in this case. Whatever animosity they might bear toward each other is being put aside and a common front presented. What is the significance of the apparent approach of the police and prosecutors to date? Even if one accepts their theory that Scott was a drug addict and an aggressive gun nut intent on carrying a gun wherever he wanted, who, through gross drug-induced impairment, brought about his own death, all of this should rightfully be nothing more than mitigating evidence that might have some bearing on the severity of a charge to be brought against the officers, or to be considered only after a potential future conviction as mitigating factors relating to sentencing.

What still remains is what the officers knew or reasonably could have known or inferred at the time they confronted Scott at the main entrance of Costco and made the decision to pull the trigger. It is this event, compressed in time, that should be the prosecutor’s foremost concern. Scott’s life history and his physical and mental health status could have, in at least some way, put him on a collision course with the police that day. But the ultimate question is whether they, knowing nothing about Scott but what they heard on the radio on the way to Costco, and apparently finding themselves surprised when a Costco employee suddenly pointed out a man they had never before seen, were justified under the law by his actions in the handful of seconds before they fired at least seven rounds into him. Under this, the only standard that truly matters, the evidence presented at the Inquest does not yet tend to favor or conclusively exonerate the police.

IN THE NEXT UPDATE, NUMBER 4: The 9-11 call and a partial radio transcript are meshed and analyzed.

Note: The primary sources for this article were the Las Vegas Sun and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Posted by MikeM at September 26, 2010 12:19 AM
Lawyers on all sides are supposed to seek justice above all, but some defense attorneys are predisposed to believe that the police are dim witted perjurers and brutalizing racists, and feeling the system thereby stacked against themselves and their clients, sometimes cut corners to try to even the playing field that they perceive is tilted in the prosecution’s favor.

I would consider them much more frivolous if they didn't have, what's it called, history on their side. I don't know how long you have been out of this line of work, but testilying is the standard now, especially in mid-size departments.

I work in the civil side, but we occasionally have police testify in cases, and I have never seen a cop's testimony jive with the documentary or physical evidence. Even when the evidence supports them, they somehow come up with a third, less probable story.

In response, prosecutors said that in a more adversarial hearing, “police officers might not testify.” This should be cause for real public concern in that any prosecutor knows that officers have no choice about such matters and are required by law to testify. Officers know this too. In fact, prosecutors routinely issue subpoenas mandating the appearance of officers at even routine hearings. This should be a matter of concern for Las Vegas residents as it may indicate that the prosecutors involved hold a low opinion of the intelligence of the public or may care little for what the public thinks.

Actually, I see it as the prosecutors involved having a low option of the officers' respect for the law. I could very easily see this as a combative police force that says, "tough, we're not testifying. What are you going to do, fire the whole department?"

So it would appear that the prosecutors and the police are indeed on the same page in this case.

What is most disturbing to me is that the police and Costco are on the same page as each other -- and no one else, including the few photographs we have. Is the prosecution in cooperation with the police, or with Costco's deep pockets? Are DAs elected officials in Nevada, and are they up for reelection soon?

Posted by: Phelps at September 26, 2010 11:59 AM

Any witness who states they saw a gun in Scott's hands are somewhat less than reliable, and their accounts should be thoroughly discounted in your analyses.

In the ambulance driver's report of the incident, written while they were driving back - and this report may not yet be generally available - the paramedics write that THEY REMOVED SCOTT'S GUN FROM HIS WAISTBAND HOLSTER and placed it on the ground.

This little FACT is somewhat at variance with a whole lot of what was said, and what some of the less acute observers who are saying they saw a gun in Scott's hands.

Also: Scott and Sam' walked by officers who were AT THE ENTRANCE when they were walking out, and THOSE police didn't see anything unusual (i.e., threatening) in Scott's attitude. It was ONLY after they'd passed by THOSE officers that the Costco part-time employee pointed out Scott and Sam' to the three officers (she was standing beside) who were involved in the shoot.

Posted by: davis,br at September 26, 2010 12:04 PM

Aargh ...not "from", but "with".

Posted by: davis,br at September 26, 2010 12:08 PM

I used to have the utmost respect and admiration for LEO's. I used to want to be around them and maybe know them. My pastor at Dewey Borea in Wisconsin was a longtime well respected LEO. One of the people I admire most here in the blogosphere is a retired LEO. I have a 1st cousin who is a state of OK LEO.

At one time in my life I thought to be a LEO.

You know what? I am so disgusted with Law enforcement in general today, this all makes me sick to my stomach.

It takes a man to be honest no matter what. Cowards lie. And cops that cover up lies and liars are just as mentally ill as the ones who screwed up. They are called enablers, codependants. In blue collar vernacular, CNF. Out of respect for this site I will not spell it out, but I will give a hint. The first C=crazy.

If any civi made the same mistake it would be life in prison or the death sentance.

The law applies across the board not parcelled out to those who have an in and know the words. Frankly if law enforcent personell decided they were not going to testify in a belligerant type of trial or hearing throw them in jail and then fire them. We got 8 million people out of work including a huge number of certified lawenforcment people who would love to have a job in Vegas.

Posted by: ron at September 26, 2010 12:37 PM

My ex-wife was an assistant district attorney in Memphis, and even as a prosecutor, she definitely considered police to be potential perjurers. That's from her experience of them lying at trial, not from prejudice against less educated people.

Posted by: Rich at September 26, 2010 12:41 PM

Thanks for the update on analysis.

Don't the police have open mics on their uniforms now? Surely those picked up some of the commands/conversation.

Posted by: Robert at September 26, 2010 12:49 PM

As for the video, there might be a reason for the police to "innocently" lie about them.

I won't name the store, except to say it is NOT COSTCO but I know for a fact that a major chain of stories has alot of domes that looks like it has cameras, and about 90% of them do not. That is right, they buy the domes to imply the existence of security cameras, without actually buying the cameras. So the truth might be that costco doesn't have cameras where you THINK they do, and are lying to us to cover that up.

I don't know, reading all this from the inquest, its really hard to figure out what the truth is. Some versions suggest the man was really intoxicated, some say he as trying to go for his gun, some says he was not. And the contradictions come from people who had no particularly good reason to lie.

I will add that even the pro-Scott version of things is questionable. I believe in the second amendment, but i believe in property rights, too. Costco had every right to say, "either the gun goes, or you go," and the moment he refused to remove himself or the gun, he became a trespasser. That doesn't fully justify the shooting, but it does put things in perspective.

Posted by: Aaron Worthing at September 26, 2010 01:05 PM

"...adrenaline fueled personalities--and in many respects, that’s who we want for police officers..."


Once we get past this belief, policing can go back to service. If we don't get past it the police are in a lot of trouble as folks start realizing that if you're gonna get shot by the cops anyway, one might as well shoot first.

Posted by: Jeff at September 26, 2010 01:15 PM

Based on the testimony so far I don't see any possible justification for two officers who fired the rounds that hit him in the back. They were fired at a prone, unarmed and immobile person who was not resisting or presenting a threat of any kind. I'm wondering how this kangaroo court comes up with a way to justify that.

Posted by: Kevin at September 26, 2010 02:24 PM

Its interesting what posters chose to believe. I don't believe any cop in America cuffs a suspect then leaves him with a gun in his holster until the EMTs get there.

This whole thing is sad and the whole truth will never be know by anyone not involved.

Let's remember the law. If the Officers felt they or their fellow Officers were in deadly peril they had the legal right to shoot.

For them to be convicted of anything, you have to prove that is not what they THOUGHT.

One more point. If someone pulls a gun out in your direction, you react. You don't wait to see if the holster is still on the gun or if his finger is on the trigger.

I wonder how many of the armed citizens who post here would allow that without defending themselves, by a guy acting like Mr. Scott was acting.

Posted by: Paul Fels at September 26, 2010 03:24 PM

People who actually believe that a prone unmoving person with their empty hands visible presents an imminent threat that justifies shooting them 5 times in the back are suffering from psychosis. I don't believe that that government should issue psychotic people guns. I'd further suggest that the state should lock up psychotic people who kill people due to their delusions.

Posted by: Kevin at September 26, 2010 03:45 PM

There needs to be an independent forensic investigation of tbe video without a completely different agency reviewing there claims, they shouldnt be believed.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 26, 2010 03:58 PM

You left out the fact that Scott's drug levels were so high as to "be lethal to most people."

I see no evidence that the police have lied in this case.

Posted by: Austin at September 26, 2010 06:57 PM

First, I like this blog. Good thoughts here.
Now for my question. I'm new to the blog but you say your an officer so I will ask you to address this, as I think the officers main mistake was the way they initially approached Erik.
My neice is a leutenent for a Sheriff's office (as well as having completed FBI academy in VA) and I spoke at length with her last night.
Her only negative comment about the officers were, when they knew the store was being evacuated, 100+ people exiting in a condensed group...and Erik walks out calmly, keeps walking away from officers, THEY HAD THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE and would have been trained to 'take him down' (tackle) and restrain him if they truly thought he was ED. She said also that a calm man could still methodically be intending to shoot, so Erik being calm means little, but the factors of 1. there hadn't been a shooting yet (apparently, you never put a crowd in danger unless a shooting has already happened inside), 2. When the officer is behind him, he sees both hands and knows that he can 'take him down' and restrain him, especially with 2 additional officers for assistance as well as them holding their guns. 3. An officer would never startle a subject that is ED as you aren't sure of his response, UNLESS you are intending to get him restrained in a fluid movement.
so... let's say Erik was on drugs and let's say Erik was in an ED (Excited Dalerium) state, she said they are trained to approach the situation EXACTLY OPPOSITE how they did.
Now keep in mind, she repeatedly took the officer's side through the conversation, even enlightening me (and diffusing MY anger over some of this) for her to go into such detail, I believe her. Can you, as an officer, expand on that?

Posted by: reason111 at September 26, 2010 07:18 PM

Paul Fels says:
"Let's remember the law. If the Officers felt they or their fellow Officers were in deadly peril they had the legal right to shoot.
For them to be convicted of anything, you have to prove that is not what they THOUGHT."

In other words, this cop, like many others, thinks he is allowed to murder as many people as he likes, so long as he then says he "THOUGHT" he was in deadly peril.

Judging by the record, (though possibly I read too much Radley Balko) he is perfectly correct.

Posted by: Lark at September 26, 2010 08:03 PM

Note: The primary sources for this article were the Las Vegas Sun and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

You know LVRJ is the paper that sues everyone who uses their material, right? I know there are no direct quotes here, but I'd still be careful.

Posted by: Beej at September 26, 2010 08:16 PM

The Nevada FOP endorsed Obama & Reid, so the officers involved will not face prosecution.

Posted by: 5th Level Fighter at September 26, 2010 08:32 PM

Fels - You don't know what you're talking about. It is not and has never been the law that a cop's the subjective "feeling" that he/she is in danger, regardless of whether that feeling is reasonable under the circumstances, authorizes the use of deadly force. And your condescending comment about what posters choose to believe is best directed at yourself, since you base your analysis on a claim for which there is no credible evidence, i.e., that Scott "pulled out his gun" in the cops' direction and your conclusions about how Scott was acting in the face of contradictory and suspiciously missing evidence. Your post is nothing but unthinking, ill informed pro-cop nonsense.

Posted by: Smoke at September 26, 2010 09:03 PM

Aaron Worthing - Unless you take the position that it justified the use of deadly force that would otherwise have been unjustified - which is absurd - Scott's disputed trespasser status adds no "perspective" whatsoever.

Posted by: Smoke at September 26, 2010 09:14 PM

My husband is a 12 year Police veteran and I have been in the Military myself so I can see things clearly from this particular 'background'. It is as the other individual coming from a Police Force stand point has stated. The moment that Scott reached for the gun and grabbed it, whether or not he un-holstered it, the Police were within their rights to shoot him as this produced a possibly imminent fatal circumstance if he were to pull it out and begin shooting. I would have done the same thing that Mosher did. I have not seen any CONFLICT of information that he was told to 'get down' BEFORE he went for the weapon. There is also NO CONFLICT of 'witness' statements as to the obvious FACT that he 'went for something' underneath his shirt behind him which is where his gun was holstered.

Another FACT is that if you are under the influence of ANY NARCOTICS, prescribed or otherwise, it is ILLEGAL TO CARRY A WEAPON. PERIOD!! This fact does not make it correct to shoot a man down who is in that state and carrying BUT if he goes for the weapon after being told to 'get down on the ground' and he does not comply than he creates a volatile situation and it's up to the Officers to make the call. I am pretty sure that had Erik Scott (if he did not get the gun out of it's holster) had gotten the gun out of it's holster and actually fired it, whether accidentally OR intentionally, there would be a whole other barrage of people screaming and carrying on about how the Police should not have 'allowed' that to happen! They're (the Police) damned if they do and damned if they don't. This is all because of a few ignorant and nasty S.O.B.'s (a few Police) who think it's OK to abuse their positions. MOST cops are just doing the best that they can under the circumstances and it's all too easy for a 'civilian' to go off on tangents of misunderstanding when they are all safe in their cuddly homes while the cops are in harms way each day!

Posted by: T at September 26, 2010 09:42 PM


Regardless of who's right and who's wrong here, past police actions, both petty and serious, have strongly contributed to a lot of folks' (my own included) reflexively anti-cop bias in cases like this.

Things like the Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell shootings don't help, but neither does the everyday "above the law" mentality of police. I imagine that, where you live, you also have those little black and blue stickers on cars. Essentially, a guarantee of no tickets for cops and their friends and families.

I think it boils down to this: When you see a police car on the road, or a policeman in public, do you feel safer, or more likely to be harassed? For too many people, the latter is not only a perception, but a reality.

Posted by: Jake Badlands at September 26, 2010 10:32 PM

Vin Suprynowicz

Once again, coroner’s inquest not open to the public

"Sheriff Doug Gillespie visited us here at the Review-Journal offices on Aug. 3. He acknowledged the importance of an open-to-the-public inquest process to maintain public confidence in that process, and in his department. “I’m not lookin’ at hidin’ anything, nor is my organization,” the sheriff said. That’s why they were going to hold the Erik Scott inquest in the largest available courtroom, so all who wanted to attend could do so, the sheriff vowed. But that turned out to be the usual pile of crap."

Worth reading.

Posted by: Curtis Cope at September 26, 2010 11:08 PM

It almost seems that the Costco employees have discussed and aligned their testimony in regard to Erik being "drunk or drugged". It is human nature to attempt to justify actions that lead to such terrible results, and such a group consensus after the fact is not unlikely.

Posted by: Jeff at September 26, 2010 11:26 PM

for all you defending the cops ...
5 rounds in the back of a dead man ...
you should all be ashamed ...

Posted by: Jeff at September 26, 2010 11:27 PM

It looks like there are two of us Jeffs! And we posted at almost the exact same time.

A comment on the previous post by Austin. We keep hearing "lethal amounts" of drugs. Obviously it wasn't lethal, as he was still walking and talking. Use of the adjective "lethal" is not particularly descriptive, and it's continued use by the media is prejudicial. Even if it means that his tolerance was high, it doesn't confirm or deny that he was acting strangely.


You left out the fact that Scott's drug levels were so high as to "be lethal to most people."

I see no evidence that the police have lied in this case.
Posted by: Austin at September 26, 2010 06:57 PM

Posted by: Jeff II at September 27, 2010 12:10 AM

Gee, T, maybe you and your husband could put together a guide that lets us lowly civilians know what we're allowed to think and say.

Your post demonstrates the arrogance, "us v. them" mindset and dishonesty in evaluating police conduct that make citizens fear and distrust law enforcement.

Posted by: Smoke at September 27, 2010 12:48 AM

Paul Fels:

"Its interesting what posters chose to believe. I don't believe any cop in America cuffs a suspect then leaves him with a gun in his holster until the EMTs get there."

So now you think the EMTs lied about they being the ones to remove the gun from its holster?

Posted by: Greg at September 27, 2010 01:29 AM

One Pissed Mom
All three Officers needs to go to prison for murder!! Officer William Mosher always wanted to be famous he got it!

Posted by: Amy at September 27, 2010 03:13 AM

As a former cop, I can tell you that this incident and it's investigation stinks! I have no doubt that EVERYONE, wishes they could take back the bullets and undo the trigger pulls. Since you can't, they'll do EVERYTHING they can to to make sure that any exposure to liability is destroyed or limited.

You must remember that there are political careers on the line. "Ooops,"is never an adequate defense for killing and innocent man, which is exactly what happen here. Whether anyone will admit to it or not. They definitely won't do so in this case.

What remains is for the public to make their own judgments based upon what is being withheld and covered up, and the exact implications of those circumstances upon the average person who may be faced with any similar situation.

Given the totality of the circumstances, the police acted improperly and killed someone unnecessarily in this instance, calling into question, their judgment, training, selection and supervision at minimum. It is clear that all of this will be ignored and life will proceed as normal for everyone involved except the victim and his family and friends.

Posted by: mmm at September 27, 2010 06:41 AM

I recently saw a video of two police (a male and a female) officers that had stopped a guy in a Corvette. The male officer had the traffic violator on the ground and was in the process of placing restraints on his hands. The other officer had her gun drawn and pointed in the direction of both. It seems she couldn't keep her finger off the trigger.... her weapon went off and fired a round, luckily, missing both her partner and the traffic violator. At this point, she placed her weapon back in her holster.

These were Los Vegas police officers.

Posted by: Jim at September 27, 2010 09:55 AM

As far as I know, no EMT has testified that the took the gun off Mr. Scott, the claim was an internal document from the ambulance crew stated it.

If someone testifies to it, I will give it more credit, however, do YOU think a cop leaves the gun on the guy he just shot while he cuffs him, then just forget the evidence that justifes the shooting? Against all his training and his own best interest?

So the answer is "No I don't"

Posted by: Paul Fels at September 27, 2010 10:41 AM

"My husband is a 12 year Police veteran and I have been in the Military myself so I can see things clearly from this particular 'background'. It is as the other individual coming from a Police Force stand point has stated. The moment that Scott reached for the gun and grabbed it, whether or not he un-holstered it, the Police were within their rights to shoot him as this produced a possibly imminent fatal circumstance if he were to pull it out and begin shooting. I would have done the same thing that Mosher did. I have not seen any CONFLICT of information that he was told to 'get down' BEFORE he went for the weapon. There is also NO CONFLICT of 'witness' statements as to the obvious FACT that he 'went for something' underneath his shirt behind him which is where his gun was holstered. "

So if the police are simultaneously yelling contradictory commands at you, it's up to you to guess in which order you should obey them. And if you get the order wrong the police are justified in gunning you down? And although we have a 2nd Amendment, which guarantees that right, and although he had a Concealed Carry permit which signifies that he met local regulations, the mere possession of a firearm is justification for the police to begin shooting? Perhaps it's just me, but I would have thought that he would have actually drawn the weapon and attempted to fire at the officers before shooting was justified. I don't think "he made a suspicious move" is good enough.

Posted by: Mike Giles at September 27, 2010 10:47 AM


"Another FACT is that if you are under the influence of ANY NARCOTICS, prescribed or otherwise, it is ILLEGAL TO CARRY A WEAPON. PERIOD!!"

Really? Can you cite that law for me, please? Is that the law where you are? Is that the law in Nevada? It's certainly not the law where I am.

Posted by: Tam at September 27, 2010 10:49 AM

Could anyone post the relevant section of Nevada law that justifies (a legal, not moral, term) the use of deadly force by police officers.

I know in New York State, the PERCEPTION of the Officer firing the shots does indeed determine if the officer can face criminal charges. This does not protect them from civil liability.

As to all the debate about video remember the cameras in retail stores are set up to cover the registers and parts of the store with valuable merchandise, not to give clear views of every inch of property, inside and out.

That doesn't mean there might not be relevant video, just that you can't count on it. Lots of banks get robbed without clear video of what happened, even though that is the type of event they are set up for.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Hate on, haters....

Posted by: Paul Fels at September 27, 2010 10:57 AM

It is unlawful under Nevada Law to carry under the influence:

Posted by: Sebastian at September 27, 2010 11:20 AM

Often, an officer can not pause for even fractions of second. Here's a website based on University studies on the time for suspect/officer motions in engagements.
Note the suspect motion times for drawing and firing weapons are based on students with no prior experience with firearms.
Police do not shoot-look-shoot. That is- they don't shoot, then assess wether they've hit, then shoot again. They are trained to shoot until the threat stops. A hard thing to judge during an engagement. The website also has links to studies showing, with modern semi-automatic pistols, how long it takes to stop firing after the recognition/decision is made.
If you're familiar with OODA loop theory, (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act), it explains why action beats reaction, which always places the police at a disadvantage as they can not complete the OODA loop in time to shoot at a subject prior to the subject firing- if the subject is determined to fire.

I do not know what went on here or how LVPD trains their officers. But it has been shown that officers can fire 1-2 rounds AFTER recognizing the threat has stopped and making the decision to stop firing.

Posted by: styrgwillidar at September 27, 2010 11:37 AM

Well, it is clear that Scott was abusing drugs and that is why he is dead. Not some police conspiracy, not some Costco conspiracy, not some anti-gun conspiracy. He is dead because he mixed drugs and guns. If you are "doubling up" on your prescription drugs for pain, don't carry a gun. And if you do, leave private property when you are asked. And don't point a gun at a police officer.

You should be embarrassed that you think that there is any exculpable testimony in this case. Are all the witnesses with evidence you disagree with under some Sevngali like influence of the police?

And, by the way, what do "character" witnesses have to do with this inquest? They were not present at the Costco and did not see the shooting.

Posted by: Federale at September 27, 2010 11:56 AM

I also like how this went from Scott is a blameless paragon of virtue, West Pointer, soldier and business man to well, even if he was under the influence of drugs, it is the police officers fault anyway.

First you denied he was under the influence of drugs, then claim it has nothing to do with anything.

You are an embarassment to those who are fact based thinkers and who also support the Second Amendment.

Now the Second Amendment is about the right to use drugs and carry weapons.

Posted by: Federale at September 27, 2010 11:59 AM

This story it is great for those that do not need to know the real true.

Posted by: piese auto at September 27, 2010 01:23 PM

It's well established that the police didn't find the second gun he had. It was found by EMS personnel, who showed up once the police decided that maybe they should contact EMS a few minutes after they shot him. It appears the police searched him to the standard they used for everything else in this incident.

"Scott was rushed to a hospital, but died on the way. On the way to the hospital, a second gun was found on Scott."

Posted by: Kevin at September 27, 2010 01:31 PM

1. It is reasonable for the police to disarm an unconscious suspect. It is reasonable to photograph the gun lying on the ground. It is not reasonable to then testify as to how that gun got on the ground other than to say they put it there. We do not know what they testified to or what is in their reports.

2. I call BS on the “lethal dose of drugs” meme being distributed. For his body weight, a lethal dose is lethal. Lethal means he is not able to cavort around COSTCO for several hours. What is lethal to a 95 lb girl is irrelevant. The drugs were prescribed for him. Talk of lethal doses is pure hyperbole. Fact: It isn’t a lethal dose if it doesn’t kill him. Therefore whatever amount he had cansumed was something less than a lethal dose, just like everyone else who takes drugs properly under a doctor's care. I will accept the argument that perhaps he died of gunshot wounds shortly before his painkillers would have killed him anyway.

Posted by: Professor Hale at September 27, 2010 01:37 PM

"No store patrons or employees were hurt [with one notable exception] . Police want to emphasize that they believe no customers were ever in danger by police gunfire [Again, with one notable exception-- further, no other customers or employees were ever in danger from Mr Scott]. Capt. Patrick Neville says the officers who fired used a pillar that holds a canopy as their backdrop."

Must have been a pretty wide pillar to accomodate three officers shooting from close range. Did they decide that ahead of time or was it a fortuitous accident? If planned that way, then this was premeditated murder, with a very narrow window of opportunity. Otherwise the story should be, "we got lucky and the police didn't accidently shoot anyone else nearby".

Posted by: Professor Hale at September 27, 2010 01:49 PM

**As far as I know, no EMT has testified that the took the gun off Mr. Scott, the claim was an internal document from the ambulance crew stated it.**

I know the family Paul; the EMT report hasn't been released. There's more to come.

Posted by: davis,br at September 27, 2010 01:59 PM

...there was no second gun. The introduction of that was to maintain some semblance of cover by the agency, since they, too, know about the EMT report.

Posted by: davis,br at September 27, 2010 02:02 PM

"I also like how this went from Scott is a blameless paragon of virtue, West Pointer, soldier and business man to well, even if he was under the influence of drugs, it is the police officers fault anyway.

"First you denied he was under the influence of drugs, then claim it has nothing to do with anything.

"You are an embarassment to those who are fact based thinkers and who also support the Second Amendment.

"Now the Second Amendment is about the right to use drugs and carry weapons."

While I'm sure that some people are changing their defense of the guy over time, I, for one, am still a bit concerned that Scott was gunned down the way he was. Were the police correct in what they did? From what I've read, I'm inclined to think not. Will they be convicted of anything? Unless I see stronger evidence one way or the other, I'm also inclined to think, likely not.

Does it matter that Scott was drugged up? Probably not, unless it was clearly affecting his behavior. Does it matter that he was living with his girlfriend? To me, I find that behavior to be morally reprehensible, but such behavior has nothing to do with this issue. Yet, others have used this as a justification for the shooting--that is, he basically had it coming.

At the very least, the Las Vegas Police should have some serious soul-searching about what went wrong here...and hopefully, they'll be able to learn from this tragic incident, and prevent others like it from happening.

Posted by: Alpheus at September 27, 2010 02:56 PM

We should hear soon enough how many guns are in the possession of LVPD and if they match the numbers on his permit. Or is the pistol permit office in on the big conspiracy too?

Posted by: Paul Fels at September 27, 2010 04:14 PM

And if the officers missed a second gun, that is poor police work, albeit under a high stress situation.

Posted by: Paul Fels at September 27, 2010 04:16 PM


"It is unlawful under Nevada Law to carry under the influence:"

Thank you for the cite.

You can understand, based on my years of moderating large internet gun forums, that I have heard people declare authoritatively that it is:

Unlawful to "brandish" (a term that only has legal relevance in very few states. One of which is, unsurprisingly, the NRA's home state of Ol' Virginny...)
Unlawful for your gun to "print"
Unlawful to carry where alcohol is served or sold
Unlawful to carry if you have a beer
Unlawful to... well, you get the picture...

So when I hear somebody declare authoritatively that everybody knows that it is absolutely unlawful to [fill in the blank], I kinda want a cite.

Posted by: Tam at September 27, 2010 04:51 PM

Yes, Thank you very much for the cite, Sebastian. I am IN NEVADA about 70 miles from Las Vegas. I am under the same type of Police Officers as in Las Vegas. I DO feel 'safer' with them and NOT as if I'll be taken advantage of. I have NO DISCOMFORT around them at all. It is my Opinion that if you feel so uncomfortable around Police Officers then you either have done or are thinking of doing something NOT QUITE RIGHT or ILLEGAL. I am 46 years young and have absolutely NO RECORD of any kind. Not even traffic citations or parking tickets. I don't break the law regardless of whether or not I agree with it. Civilians are not lowly but, as is clearly seen amongst the posts here, they don't quite understand some things and therefore make themselves appear more ignorant than they may actually be. **case in point** the actual LAW as to carrying a weapon under the influence.

I feel that it should also to be taken into account that both Erik and his girlfriend flat out lied and said that Erik was a 'Green Beret'. The girlfriend literally stated that he was IN THE ARMY and just got back from Iraq. This is absolute NONSENSE! He'd been discharged from the army since about 1999 and NEVER even came close to a combat situation. He only served 2 years total. Due to this out and out blatant lie NOTHING that this woman says can even be believed at this point. She says that she has known him for 3 years so she had to have known that he had been discharged for ten years.

The distrust of the entire incident is being propagated by both the MEDIA and Erik's father. Erik was under the influence of narcotics, regardless of how much of it was in his system it was very clearly affecting him. (unless you can somehow convince yourself that ALL of the witnesses to his odd behavior and delusional statements were all paid off by the city somehow?) He was also told to GET DOWN. Both witnesses for and against him said this. He was told to 'get down' FIRST before the other statements were made. He should have complied but did not. As to his being shot while down, this is also contradicted in statements as I've read that he was shot twice in the chest but it did not even phase him until the further shots were fired and that is when he began to fold down to the ground. As a matter of FACT the officers DID show restraint as they are taught to 'empty their entire clip' if they fire at somebody. They obviously just 'stopped' him from doing anybody any harm with the gun. Again, all he had to do was REACH FOR THE GUN after being told to GET DOWN and not complying.... this 'conflicting commands' thing is moot. He was told to 'GET DOWN' several times before anything else was yelled out. If he'd have been acting within the law, (being SOBER and not under the influence of narcotics while carrying a weapon) he'd be alive today.

All of these Opinions are based on if the facts as presented are actually TRUE or not. If they are not true than my opinion may differ.

If you're taking drugs DON'T CARRY A WEAPON. PERIOD. No problem. If you are stopped by the Police for ANY REASON (whether or not you've done something wrong) do as they tell you, especially if you are carrying a weapon. Drop your butt to the ground, allow them to disarm you themselves and cuff you. This IS within the law. If you comply and all is in proper order you will be released and your weapon returned to you as soon as it's confirmed. If you feel they've mistreated you in any way than file a complaint against them.

I do my own research so if anyone wants to 'confirm' what I've said about Police Training look it up yourself. I've done my research so it's up to anyone who finds these comments interesting to do their own research.

Posted by: T at September 27, 2010 08:20 PM

T, you are full of baloney. I have closely followed the inquest. I heard every word the medical examiner testified to. Erik was shot seven times; once in the chest, through the heart, once in the upper right thigh, once through the left armpit and directly through the heart and four times in the back. There were two .45 cartridges and five 9mm cartridges found at the scene, according to the lead detective. Also according to the lead detective, two shots by Mosher (as he testified (the chest and thigh shots that entered his body from the front) one by one of the two other officers that fired and four by the other officer. Those five shots were in the back and through Erik's left armpit.

Please don't lie about the evidence in the case. It does a disservice to every reader.

Posted by: Paul Schmehl at September 27, 2010 10:18 PM

Thank you for your insightful and detailed analysis of this tragic incident. I also thank the commenters for taking the time to review and comment on this event. May God bless you all.

Posted by: DisabledVeteran at September 27, 2010 10:34 PM

We should all be looking for the truth. Whether you gyrate your loins and get a warm feeling running down your legs at every sight and mention of a cop ... or, you just hate cops. Doesn't matter.

Maybe Scott deserved getting shot ... although not in the back. Maybe he didn't? If the cops are lying and covering up ... the least we can hope for is that Karma will meet them in the back in a most terrifying way.

Posted by: C. Cope at September 27, 2010 11:01 PM

Actually, Paul Schmehl, I am not lying. YOU SIR should do your homework before replying! As I said in my above post, I am only going on what I have seen written and heard on the media. Here is what I am talking about from the Las Vegas Sun:

"He was a deadly threat with that weapon in his hand," Mosher said.

Mosher said at that point, fearing for his own safety, fearing for the safety of the other officers and fearing for the safety of the crowd, "I fired my weapon at center body mass."

He said he shot twice, then stopped. He said Scott didn't fall immediately. Then he heard the other two officers also shoot."

What the coroner has said actually bears out the statements from my previous post as at least 2 of the shots entered from the front of him and that would be Mosher's. Mosher says he fired twice and than heard 'other shots'.

Your statement, "Please don't lie about the evidence in the case. It does a disservice to every reader."

only serves to do YOURSELF a disservice. Please sir, do your RESEARCH before speaking. If you misunderstood what I said than your response is understandable.

Posted by: T at September 27, 2010 11:11 PM

Look, T, you said he was shot twice in the chest and did not fall. Whether you based that on media reports or not, that is false. He was shot once in the chest and once in the thigh. Then, as he was either falling or had already fallen to the ground, according to witnesses, he was shot five more times. The only thing Mosher got right was that he shot twice. One of the five other shots entered Erik's buttocks, passed through his bladder and traveled vertically through his body cavity, coming to rest in the thoracic area. Those are the facts, as testified to by the medical examiner (not the coroner)

If you're going to take Mosher's testimony as fact, you are going to be wrong 95% of the time.

You quote Mosher as saying Erik had a weapon in his hand. He did not. At best he had his HOLSTERED weapon in his hand, and even that is in dispute. Mosher said he fired at center body mass. That may be were he thought he fired, but the evidence proves that is false.

Testimony at the inquest indicates that when Mosher shot Erik, he stepped back and then began falling to the ground. The two other officers then moved in and fired while he was falling to the ground or had already fallen.

If what you write about the case is false, that is called a lie, by definition. Either get the facts or stop posting.

Posted by: Paul Schmehl at September 27, 2010 11:57 PM

On top of everything that has been posted here, I can't imagine a big store like Costco evacuating the store for a man with a gun who is acting normal. It just doesn't make sense. They could have called the police and had the police arrest him inside for trespassing - and all those customers could have kept on shopping and spending money.

Posted by: Vanya at September 28, 2010 05:27 AM

When several police officers confront an armed man, they don't all line up right in front of him, just so the bullets don't hit him in the back. Shooters in the past have soaked up more rounds than hit Mr. Scott, then killed officers, as in the Miami Massacre

This is not a video game, people....

Posted by: Paul Fels at September 28, 2010 09:57 AM

T, you stated
"As a matter of FACT the officers DID show restraint as they are taught to 'empty their entire clip' if they fire at somebody."

I know officers from 4 southern CA police departments and 3 federal agencies. None are taught to 'empty the clip', all are trained to 'fire until the threat stops'.

Could you please provide a citation or link to a Police department supporting your statement, that they train officers to 'empty their entire clip'?

Posted by: styrgwillidar at September 28, 2010 03:58 PM

the family needs to own up and realize there son was an addict!!(wish i was his dealer)that had no reason for being out and about.. hes under the influence of pills or anything for that reason he should of never been carrying his gun oh i mean guns which through out his ccw permit rights with it. the family should be thanking metro they didnt shoot him more and can have an open casket!!pretty sad a guy with all his great training could seem to understand anything like get down get down but the 40 or so other people did.. lets hurry up and get these cops back to what they do best before another Erik scott comes out of the woodworks. you people need to stop relying on news or this jackoffs page for info just watch it @fox5vegas live and see for your self what all the non employees are saying>>>from the sounds of half of these post they dont belive anything not even when the defence of homeland security cop testified he saw everything and had no choice he pointed the gun at the police .. pretty simple people youi pont a gun at cop and you should be shot not tazered like all the idiots have been saying thats like bringing a knife to a gun fight

Posted by: jack mehoff at September 28, 2010 04:59 PM
As a matter of FACT the officers DID show restraint as they are taught to 'empty their entire clip' if they fire at somebody.

If that is how they are trained, then they are trained to act negligently and criminally.

Lethal force is legally employed to stop a threat. Continuing to fire when there is no threat because you still have ammunition in the magazine is murder.

Justifiable homicide by a police officer in Nevada is:

NRS 200.140 Justifiable homicide by public officer. Homicide is justifiable when committed by a public officer, or person acting under the command and in the aid of the public officer, in the following cases:

1. In obedience to the judgment of a competent court.

2. When necessary to overcome actual resistance to the execution of the legal process, mandate or order of a court or officer, or in the discharge of a legal duty.

3. When necessary:

(a) In retaking an escaped or rescued prisoner who has been committed, arrested for, or convicted of a felony;

(b) In attempting, by lawful ways or means, to apprehend or arrest a person; or

(c) In lawfully suppressing a riot or preserving the peace.

The statute limitig lethal force in making an arrest in Nevada (as opposed to, say, execution, like in 1. above) is:

NRS 171.1455 Use of deadly force to effect arrest: Limitations. If necessary to prevent escape, an officer may, after giving a warning, if feasible, use deadly force to effect the arrest of a person only if there is probable cause to believe that the person: 1. Has committed a felony which involves the infliction or threat of serious bodily harm or the use of deadly force; or 2. Poses a threat of serious bodily harm to the officer or to others.

Once a suspect no longer poses a threat to the officer or others, lethal force is no longer authorized, and using it is therefore murder or manslaughter(depending on malice aforethought, actual or implied.)

Posted by: Phelps at September 28, 2010 06:57 PM

I stand corrected on the misquote of the LAW as I was going on what my husband had said and I misunderstood him. 'fire until the threat stops' is CORRECT and I was mistaken and I apologize. It was not intentional. His stipulation was that if the perpetrator does not go down than you continue to fire UNTIL he goes down and this is to include emptying your clip. As to Paul Schmehl's comments, AGAIN, I am only going on what the media has said that Mosher said and that is what was posted above. Did you, Mr. Schmehl or did you NOT read the link I provided in my post? AGAIN, this is what was attributed to Mosher's statements. It clearly states that Mosher indicated that:

"He said he shot twice, then stopped. He said Scott didn't fall immediately. Then he heard the other two officers also shoot."

This statement, that he DID NOT FALL right away, was the MAIN STIPULATION of the original comments and they regarded the 'reasoning' behind further shots being fired. This statement was printed in the Las Vegas Sun newspaper and I have provided you the link for that. The fact that he was shot in the chest and 'thigh' has little bearing on the issue at hand. BOTH of these shots were to the front of his body. You have very clearly missed the point I was making. Just because you feel Mosher is lying (it seems that you see liars everywhere since I'm obviously one too!!) does not make this statement any less than what it is. It had nothing to do with the actual locations that the rounds penetrated the front of his body and everything to do with the 'reasoning' for further shots being fired.

I clearly stated in all of my posts that I was going on what I had READ and, therefore, I AM NOT A LIAR and if I make a mistake I own up to it.

Jack Mehoff seems to be one with the least proclivity of anal retentiveness here. His statements make much more sense and are stated bluntly and without condescending remarks of suggested prevarication. Thanks Jack for the breath of fresh air!

Posted by: T at September 28, 2010 08:55 PM