A security guard at an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office in Ohio pulled a gun on an on-duty cop for carrying his service pistol in a gun-free zone.
The security guard, Seth Eklund, was later arrested and is now facing charges of aggravated menacing for pointing his gun at uniformed Lucas County Sheriff’s deputy Alan Gaston, who entered the Toledo, Ohio IRS office on Monday, May 31 to inquire about a letter he received, ABC 13 News reported on Wednesday.
Gaston had gone to the office while on duty to request a phone number to follow up with a matter described in the letter. Security camera footage showed Gatson walking in the office while wearing his police uniform with service pistol, but when he walked out, Eklund followed him at gunpoint.
Upon seeing Gatson enter the office, Eklund ordered the deputy to take off his gun and place it in his vehicle. Since it is against law enforcement procol to disarm while on duty, Gatson declined, and Eklund responded by pointing a gun to the deputy’s back.
Gaston explained he was “basically preparing myself to be shot at that moment. Bracing for a shot in my back.”
Eklund escorted Gaston all the way to the elevator at gunpoint. Eklund also tried to take the deputy into custody but was unsuccessful.
Gaston is a defensive tactics trainer, so he chose to walk away to deescalate the situation.
“There’s really no way to know how you’re going to act when there’s a gun pointed at you and when you think you’re going to lose your life,” Gatson said.
Someone from inside the IRS office had called 911 to report a man with a gun who would not leave, but failed to mention that the security guard was holding a gun to a uniformed law enforcement officer.
Toledo police responded to the call and Eklund was arrested. He is due in court next week on one count of aggravated menacing.
Gaston said that he was most concerned with the safety of the others in the office.
He said, “If I’m going to get shot, like I thought I was, it’s not fair. They came in there to do their business.”
Gaston is now on medical leave from the sheriff’s department, but he and his wife have filed a lawsuit against the security guard and the company that employed him for emotional and psychological distress and lost wages.
Gatson has a message for Eklund. “I would say ‘Clearly your training is lacking and the fact that you went 0 to 100. Lethal force is unacceptable.'” he said.