When Erik squatted on the floor to verify that three metal water bottles would fit into a soft-sided, zip-up cooler, a Costco employee saw the weapon. Erik's shirt had lifted up, revealing a holstered pistol clipped to his belt, on his right hip. A civil interchange ensued, and the employee informed Erik of Costco's policy that guns were not allowed inside company stores -- although there are no signs to that effect posted outside or inside the facility. Erik calmly responded that his gun was legal and that he had a concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit on his person. Like other Boston Scientific pacemaker sales reps, Erik carried a concealed weapon for personal protection, because reps are required to enter dangerous areas of the city at all hours of the day and night to serve patients fitted with cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators. Contrary to wildly erroneous news reports, we've seen no evidence that Erik had a second gun on his person.
The Costco employee apparently reported to the store's manager that Erik was carrying a gun. The manager, in turn, informed a young, plainclothes security guard, who subsequently placed a 911 call to the police. The contents of that 911 call have not been released, but Northwest Metro cops rushed to the store in overwhelming force. As many as 15 police cruisers, a helicopter, an incident-command team and an ambulance were dispatched.
Costco managers announced that the store was being evacuated. Unaware that the evacuation had anything to do with him, Erik and his girlfriend walked out with the crowd, passing three Metro officers waiting at the entrance. The Costco undercover security guard pointed to Erik, and the cops started yelling at Erik to stop and turn around.
Erik turned to find three officers facing him, guns drawn, and all three shouting different commands: "Get on the ground!" "Drop your weapon!" "Keep your hands up!" Erik held his hands up, spoke calmly, told them he DID have a concealed firearm and a legal CCW and was an ex-Army officer. His girlfriend was screaming about Erik being a West Point grad, former Army officer, etc. Erik leaned to his left, hands still up, to expose the pistol, and repeated, "I am disarming; I am disarming..." Witnesses say he started to lower his right hand, palm OUT, perhaps intending to remove holster and gun together — but never got the hand below his shoulder, when one of the cops (believed to be William Mosher, who had committed a fatal shooting in 2006) shot Erik in the chest with a .45-caliber semi-automatic weapon. Erik dropped to his knees, clearly in shock, his face a picture of disbelief. He was shot a second time and collapsed. The rest is ugly. The three officers unloaded again, firing a total of seven hollow-point rounds. At least four, possibly five, hit Erik in the back, after he was on the ground and dying.