In our connected world, we make previously unimaginable connections. We make friends we will never meet, yet those friendships grow and are, in most ways, as real as those that enjoy personal contact. We learn about the lives of others from far away, and their stories become a part of us. Such was the case with Erik Scott and me.
July 10, 2010: Erik Scott and his fiancé, Samantha Sterner, were shopping at the Summerlin Costco in Las Vegas. Bending down to examine merchandise on a low shelf, his shirt momentary rode up, exposing his legally carried concealed handgun. This would have come to nothing, if a cop-wannbe security guard had not chanced to see it. He called management, who spoke with Erik. They parted amiably, and Erik, who was never asked to leave the store, continued to peacefully shop.
But the security guard, against store policy, called the Metro police, and there began a bizarre, and ultimately, deadly comedy of errors. Between the security guard, the call taker, the dispatcher and three undertrained, panicky cops, part of a cohort that would soon number more than 60, including a helicopter, that hastily rushed to the Costco, Metro forces somehow got the idea Scott was a Green Beret, was threatening people with guns, was under the influence of drugs, and was refusing to leave the store. They claimed that challenged by an officer that was pointing his handgun at Scott at a distance of six feet, Scott drew his handgun,still in its holster, and pointed it at him.
None of that was remotely true, but even today, Metro apologists in social media and elsewhere, continue to spout the false Metro narrative, a narrative that furthers the cover up of Erik Scott’s murder by three Metro cops. Lies like this cry out for the truth. I had no idea I would be the one to tell the definitive story.
September 17, 2010: Bob Owens published his initial article on the Erik Scott Case at PJ Media. I had been a reader of Confederate Yankee for some time and a frequent commenter as well. As Bob embarked on his first AR-15 project, I helped to provide advice and a friendship began which led to an invitation to guest blog. My first foray into the Blogosphere was inspired by Bob and by this first article.
As regular readers know, Bob committed suicide. He too was a friend I never had the opportunity to meet. I miss him.
Reading that article, my cop sense, like Spiderman’s spidey sense, tingled like mad. I knew only what the article contained, but everything about the case felt wrong. As I began what would turn out to be a seven+ year investigation, resulting in a substantial archive, I gave the Metro police the benefit of the doubt. I very quickly learned they did not deserve it, and I had to do something about it.
Erik Scott was an extraordinary man. Even as a child, he was high-energy, a self-motivated achiever. A natural, goal-seeking leader, by the time he was in high school, he announced he was going to West Point, and he made it happen.
An extraordinary athlete, and precisely the kind of scholar/athlete our military academies seek, he did well, and became an armor officer, serving in M1 tanks. But with the end of the Cold War, the military was drawing down, and he moved to Las Vegas and did well in real estate during the last real estate boom–until it busted. He quickly built a career selling and servicing cardiac pacemakers, working at all hours of the day and night, even advising in the operating room. He was respected by all who knew him, not only for his reliability and dedication, but for his character.
As I investigated the case as best I could–Metro wasn’t the least interested in disseminating the truth, and the local media essentially bought the Metro narrative, hook, line and sinker–I eventually became acquainted with the Scott family, and little by little, understood why Erik was such an extraordinary, honorable man: he got it from his parents.
As regular readers know, I was eventually able to obtain not only the complete Metro report, which includes the transcripts of the farcically corrupt coroner’s inquest, and a great many other depositions and interviews, many Metro never saw. My suspicions were fully confirmed. It was worse that I imagined.
Three Metro cops murdered an innocent man in the middle of a crowd of some 200 people, and Metro, the prosecutors, and much of the Las Vegas establishment covered for them. William Mosher, a serial Metro killer, shot Scott twice, and as he fell, flat on his face on the concrete pavement, Thomas Mendiola and Joshua Stark rushed up and shot him five times in the back and buttocks. In 2011, Mendiola was fired–a rarity in Metro–for knowingly giving a firearm to a convicted felon. Mosher “retired” in 2017, far short of 20 year’s service, and apparently, Stark remains on the force. Stark is said to have shown genuine remorse, but never enough to tell the truth. Of course, being truthful is very dangerous to the truth teller in Metro, and Las Vegas in general.
After finally obtaining all the documentation, I spent, with my co-author, about a year and a half writing License To Kill: The Murder Of Erik Scott. It took nearly as long to find a publisher. That’s difficult any time, but in these Internet driven days, even more so.
Perhaps the most interesting fact about the book is it is Metro’s own reports that damn them. Knowing where to look, I was able to piece together, through painstaking page-by-page examination of Metro’s shoddy report, what actually happened. That’s the story of the book, that, and the effect of Erik’s murder on his family, Las Vegas, and American policing.
Though Erik and I never met, though I know him only through the words of those that knew and loved him, and through his accomplishments, I am as honored to know of him as if he were my best friend. There are some people, gentle readers, all Americans should know. Erik Scott is one such.
Knowing Erik’s parents as I now do, I have at least some small sense of their anguish on this 9thanniversary of Erik’s murder, but I can never fully understand the depth of a suffering that never entirely goes away. I do know that the book helped ease that suffering, because it serves as a fitting memorial to Erik. It also serves as an object, moral lesson about what happens to decent, honorable Americans when we allow our police forces and politicians to believe they are above the law–that they are the law.
I knew I would never make any real money on the book, but I had to write it. Even though I no longer enforce the law for a living, my compulsion to do justice required no less. In a time when publishing a book in paper is very, very hard to do, I consider it nothing less than the hand of Providence that it has been published.
I encourage you, gentle readers, to learn about Erik Scott, and to contemplate why such a honorable, patriotic American was cut down by cowards, and why he continues to be slandered by those unfit to shine his combat boots. I encourage you to spread his story, as I work to do the same. The book can be purchased through the publisher–North Slope Publications–-or through Amazon.
Erik Scott is an American life worth knowing and celebrating, and worth a prayer, for him and those that love him, on this July 10th, and every July 10th. Not every anniversary is an occasion for joyful remembrance, but on this, the 9th anniversary of his unnecessary death, join me in saying: Ave atque vale, Erik. You’ll never be forgotten.