July 10, 2010, the Summerlin Costco in Las Vegas, Nevada. West Point graduate and former Army armor officer, Erik Scott and his fiancé Samantha Sterner were shopping. Scott, who earned a Duke MBA, did very well during the Vegas real estate boom. However, booms are followed by busts, and Scott was working, successfully, but not nearly as lucratively, in high-tech medical device (pacemakers) sales. He had already decided to leave Las Vegas as soon as he could. Ironically, he would leave much sooner than he imagined.
It was a perfect storm of idiocy and incompetence, one mistake and misconception building on another. An excitable and incompetent store security guard caught a glimpse of Scott’s legally carried concealed handgun when he bent down to examine merchandise. Costco actually has an anti-gun policy, but hides it from customers–it is not publicized in any Costco literature or posted in its stores–because it doesn’t want to lose business. The manager briefly spoke with Scott, but no one ever asked Scott to leave the store. He and Sterner continued stopping.
They had no idea the security guard called the police. An incompetent dispatcher somehow got the idea Scott was a Green Beret, was threatening people, was high on drugs, you name the irrational misconception, between them, the security guard and dispatcher came up with it. Instead of sending a few officers to check things out and professionally deal with the situation, a police response that would eventually involve more than 60 officers and a helicopter was mobilized.
The store was evacuated by a Lieutenant still on her way to the store, a woman with no idea what was going on. As Scott and Sterner calmly left the store amidst a crowd of hundreds, they walked right past a grossly overweight, sweating, sunglasses-wearing Officer William Mosher, who in five years on the force, already had one kill to his credit. His handgun was out of its holster, and he was hyped up and fearful. Two other officers were present: Joshua Stark and Thomas Mendiola, but more were arriving all the time. Both Stark and Mendiola also had their handguns unholstered, but due to dispatcher incompetence, none of them had any idea where Scott was or what he was doing.
So unremarkable was the supposed drugged madman, Scott walked right past Mosher, within touching distance, without incident. Then the security guard pointed Scott out to Mosher, and things moved very quickly indeed. Mosher grabbed Scott’s shoulder from behind, Scott turned around, and within two seconds, Mosher, who was pointing his gun at Scott’s chest at point blank range, yelled three contradictory commands and shot Scott. The first .45 ACP round destroyed his heart, and the second blew through the very outside of his right leg, mid-thigh. As Scott fell, dying, facedown on the pavement, Mendiola shot him in the back four times. Stark contributed a single round.
Scott didn’t make any threatening moves. His handgun, in an inside the waistband holster under his shirt, was never touched and never left the holster.
Regular readers know the rest (the Scott Case Archive is here). Scott was immediately thrown into an ambulance like a sack of potatoes. On the way to the hospital, EMTs found his handgun, still in its holster inside his waistband. The Metro police snuck it back, and dropped it on the pavement, still in its holster, near the pool of blood in front of Costco. But they had a problem, one of many: the EMT report mentioned finding a gun, but described it in the most vague terms. How could they have found a gun that was supposedly pulled on Mosher, and was dropped when Mosher heroically shot Scott in the middle of a huge crowd of innocents, on his body in the ambulance?
They “solved” this problem by breaking into Scott’s condo later than night and stealing his Ruger LCP, inventing the story that Scott was carrying two guns that day. When that story became obviousy ridiculous, they damaged the little gun, claiming Mosher’s second bullet struck it in an idiotic attempt to place it in Scott’s right front pocket, even though Mosher’s second round struck Scott nowhere near that pocket.
All of the Costco security video, indoors and outdoors, was tampered with, and mysteriously disappeared, but only the footage of the short time Scott was in the store. In the following years, a corrupt Las Vegas legal system wiped away two lawsuits filed against Metro and Costco by the Scott family.
I’ve been covering this case from the beginning, and in that pursuit, met Erik’s father, Bill Scott and his family. Better, more decent people don’t exist. Bill has become a tireless advocate for justice in this case, and others, and he’s made such a difference, and so frightened the murderous thugs of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, he has received innumerable death threats.
I continued to work on the Scott case, posting articles as I had enough information, eventually collecting all of the materials the Scotts obtained through discovery. What I had only surmised before, I could now indisputably prove using Metro’s own evidence: Erik Scott was murdered by three incompetent, panicky cops. His murder was clumsily and arrogantly covered up, not only by Metro, which routinely murders citizens and covers up their killings, but by the Las Vegas press, prosecutor’s office, various other official entities, and local and state politicians. Murderous cops are bad for business, and what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, particularly the bodies of innocents.
Readers have, for years, suggested I should write a non-fiction book about the case, but until I had the actual evidence I needed, including even more, and more damning, evidence than Metro had, it was impossible to write the book. Finally, gentle readers, you have your wish.
But merely having the evidence necessary was only the beginning. I had to comb through thousands of pages of statements, evidence, innumerable photographs, police reports, coroner’s reports, finding each and every lie, contradiction, and evidence of incompetence and malice I always knew was there, but could finally prove.
The book, tentatively titled License To Kill, was finished during the summer of 2016. Best-selling author Stephen Coonts took on the project, and Bill Scott and I assisted. The manuscript is being shopped to publishers. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, everyone will be able to discover the truth that was never revealed in a court of law. In a very real sense, the book presents the evidence the public was never allowed to hear. Anyone reading the book will have no doubt what happened that day in 2010, because they’ll have the incontrovertible evidence Metro and a malicious corrupt Vegas system worked so hard to bury. Hopefully, for the first time in history, Metro won’t be able to hide behind a wall of corruption that has always protected it in the past. Hopefully, everyone will finally discover who and what William Mosher, Joshua Stark and Thomas Mendiola–and Metro–are.
Hopefully, Erik Scott will finally have the justice due an honorable man who served America in life, and even in death.