VANCOUVER, Wash. - The owner of a Vancouver butcher shop said he and his store full of customers were scared for their lives when a man who turned out to be an off-duty Vancouver police officer pulled out a gun during an argument there Friday.
Mike Brannan, who owns Top Choice Meat Market at 12313 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd., told KATU News it all started when a man he identified as Roger Evans came into the shop upset about an order. Hot pepper flake hadn't been applied to jerky made from a small deer he'd brought in for processing, and Evans felt he should not have to pay for it, Brannan said.
Several employees tried to calm Evans, whom Brannan described as very loud and very rude. Eventually Brannan met the man outside with his order, handing the roughly 40-pound meat order over to him and telling Evans never to come back.
Brannan said he thought Evans had a hold of the order but instead it dropped to the ground. That threw Brannan off balance into a pickup truck, he said.
That's when Brannan claims Evans backed up, drew his pistol and told the owner not to come any closer or he would shoot.
Brannan ran back into the store and called 911.
"Nobody knew who he was or nothing about him," Brannan said. "You would assume he was a crackhead."
Evans just backed out into the parking lot, keeping his gun out, and made a cell phone call.
"I have to admit, you know, I don't care how big, bad, tough ... you are, someone pointing a big gun at you (at) real close range is a very scary situation," Brannan said. "I mean, I didn't get no sleep last night."
Officers arrived and calmed everyone down. Vancouver police turned over the investigation to the Clark County Sheriff's Office because it involved one of their own.
The sheriff's office has not officially confirmed that the officer involved was Evans. They have also not made any arrests - a spokesman said that is because detectives do not see the officer as a threat to the public. But the investigation is continuing.
The Vancouver officer told deputies he pulled out the handgun to defend himself because he felt threatened, according to the sheriff's office. He was put on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in such incidents.
Brannan said he thinks the officer is receiving preferential treatment.
"I think he should be treated like anybody else," Brannan said. "And we all know if it was anybody else out there how they'd have been treated. They'd have been handcuffed and arrested and taken."