SANTA FE, N.M. (CN) – A drunk security guard who was barred from carrying a gun threatened residents of a Santa Fe mobile home park and pointed his gun at children, four families say in Santa Fe County Court.
Increased, post-9/11 hiring of private security services that hire questionably trained, erratically supervised and carelessly selected armed personnel has led to a welter of problems, according to a Congressional Research Services Report.
California and a few other states have had centralized licensing organizations and standardized training requirements for years, but many states, including New Mexico, have exercised little oversight of the industry.
A 2008 New Mexico law increased the requirements for armed private security guards to 16 hours of training plus a certification from the NRA or a state law enforcement academy. But the law does not require background checks, and the new rules are not applied to guards who had such a job on Sept. 24, 2008.
Lead plaintiff Venturo Medrano says the incident that sparked this lawsuit began with a quarrel over where he had parked his truck. Medrano claims that Phillip Glock, hired by USA Security & Surveillance to protect Tierra Real Mobile Home Park, choked him with his hands, then drew his gun.
Medrano says Glock shouted and waved the gun threateningly for several minutes, pointing it not only at Medrano, but at Medrano’s wife and 9-year-old child, and his neighbors, including at 13-year-old child. At one point during the tirade, 9-year-old Emilio placed himself between Glock and Medrano to act as a “fence to protect my dad,” according to the complaint.
“The children were crying and begging Mr. Glock not to shoot,” the complaint states. “While the children were standing between him and Mr. Medrano making their protective fence, Mr. Glock chambered a round and pointed the gun at the children. The children believed he was going to shoot them.” Then the boy’s mother leapt in front of Emilio to protect the child.
The Mendozas say Glock was “waving the gun around, pointing it at everyone in the vicinity.”
Police arrived and ended the standoff. Medrano claims the officers said they could smell alcohol on Glock, that he failed a breath test, and that a criminal check showed that he was banned by federal law from carrying a firearm.
Medrano says it was not the first time that Glock showed up drunk for work and acted inappropriately. One trailer park resident said that Glock and other USA Security officers made them feel like “prisoners in their own home,” and that park managers ignored repeated complaints about it, according to the complaint.
The plaintiffs say USA Security hired Glock, issued him a .45 caliber handgun without performing even the simplest of background checks, or performed a check and failed to discover his status.
The plaintiffs seek punitive damages from Phillip Glock, Tierra Real Home Owners Association and USA Security & Surveillance, alleging assault, battery, negligent hiring, failure to train and a bevy of related causes. They are represented by Aimee Bevan with O’Friel & Levy.