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An unidentified security guard working at Ross Park Mall in suburban Pittsburgh [above] simultaneously violated all four gun safety rules while loading his firearm at the end of his shift. The guard discharged a round which struck one of his colleagues in the buttocks. KDKA News has the story:

The guard was getting ready to go home for the evening. While loading his personal firearm, he accidentally fired it. The resulting shot went through a wooden stand and struck his friend in the buttocks.

The guard’s name has not been released. He was employed by Universal Protection Services, not the Ross Park Mall. He has since been relieved of his duties.

Police are investigating, but do not expect to file charges at this time. The injured party – also unidentified – was apparently treated and released from a local hospital.

Simon Property Group owns the Ross Park Mall. Simple Simon bars “guests” from bringing “weapons” into their shopping venues — just in case a legal gun owner does something irresponsible with their firearm.

In today’s world of people multitasking on their smart watches while listening to Spotify and keeping an eye on Pokémon GO, it’s easy to lose sight of the task at hand. Still, that’s no excuse. A negligent discharge at the wrong moment can leave you unemployed, bankrupt, imprisoned, injured, killed, or, in the worst case, wishing you were dead.

With that in mind, it sounds as though all parties concerned got off lucky. I wonder how lucky Simon Property Group’s patrons would/will feel should.when terrorists decide to recreate the Westgate Mall attack.

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  1. Maybe it’s just what I do but when I chamber a round I repeat the mantra of “finger off the trigger” in my head until the weapon is secured in a holster.

    • I’ll add a suggestion that you probably already do: keep your muzzle pointed almost straight down at the floor when you rack the slide and put a round in the chamber. That is another exceedingly simple “procedure” that virtually guarantees no one sustains any serious injuries even if your firearm does go “Bang!” in the process.

      Speaking of, this should be an important note added to clarify or lend additional credence to the four rules: you could have a stuck firing pin that will make the gun go “Bang!” when you operate the action even though your finger is nowhere near the trigger and nothing moves the trigger rearward. Call it unintentional (truly unintentional and not “negligent”) slam firing.

      For anyone who is unfamiliar with the term “slam fire”, it refers to a method of shooting, almost exclusively with pump-action firearms, where the operator holds the trigger back and then proceeds to operate (pump) the action with gusto. Every time you slam the action forward, the firearm discharges (because you are already holding the trigger down). Using this method, you can empty a pump-action shotgun or rifle amazingly fast. It is the pump-action version of “spray and pray”.

        • pwrserge,

          I agree for the most part.

          Please note that a lot of people fail in the “well maintained firearms” part of your assertion.

        • And unloaded guns don’t kill people. Yet, we don’t point them at ourselves or anyone else because it’s good practice.
          It’s kind of like those people that like to argue all the different situations in which they don’t need to use a turn signal when the simplest answer is to just always use one and you’ll never get it wrong.

        • “Unintentional slam fires are unheard of in modern well maintained firearms.”

          Tell that to Remington…

  2. Loading his gun at the END of his shift ?
    One big step removed from carrying on an empty chamber.
    He needs to take an NRA class or something.

    • I’ve been in a lot of Simon malls – don’t remember EVER seeing armed security. Best guess: They required him to unload and store his personal weapon while on duty.

      The Tacoma Mall did have, for a while, a Tacoma Police substation in the Food Court. This was probably as a response to the guy with an AK shooting up the JC Penney entrance. I don’t know if the cops still live there.

      • You nailed it.
        Boss says you can’t carry on duty, and, by the way, be sure to unload that gun before you put it in your locker.

        Which, as we all know, is MUCH MORE DANGEROUS than just leaving it in the holster, where it is harmless.

        NGs such as this are the result of two things:
        1) Negligence
        2) Policies that lead to unnecessary gun handling, loading and unloading.

  3. Does HOK ever vary from this cookie-cutter formula mall? Swap a few stores and that could be an interior shot of the STL Galleria.

    • Why pay designers, architects, and engineers several hundred thousand dollars to design each shopping mall when you can do it once and repeat the same design? If you were going to build two dozen such shopping malls, you would save millions of dollars.

      • They have to re-draw for pretty much every jurisdiction, so there’s some savings, but it’s not like you get one set of prints and run off 50 malls. Now that much of the country has moved to IBC, I guess that’s a bit more likely these days but back when these were built – early ’90s, there was different code in pretty much every major metro. You could have a ‘template’ of sorts, but you often had have everything literally redrawn to local code – usually by a local guy with a local license to stamp them.

        I know, find a formula that works and stick with it. The world may be full of Glocks, but there are other guns or something like that…

  4. I am abandoning TTAG due to the format change that that eliminated clear description lead in text. I’m just one guy but there may be many more that hate having to open several articles before one of interest is found. Its as anoying as clearing pop-ups. I’m sure it eats data for those readers with data restriction plans. It is not a good experience. It may give you hits and revenue but you will no longer burden me with it. I have been away for several weeks with no. Symptoms of withdrawl and the important information is widely available elsewhere. You don’t have a Contact E-Mail address listed so this is dumped here. You stated before you wanted feedback, here it is.
    Respectfully but disappointed,

    • AdBlockPlus and Ghostery will take care of strange ads and pop-ups. You should get those anyway and they’ll be of use to you anywhere you go on the web (and you can see all the crap that sites try to load…scary stuff sometimes).

      As to titles, yeah, I wasn’t particularly fond of this one either.

    • I also REALLY miss the first paragraph on the main page.

      I’ll still see the ads. Just let me have a better metric for deciding when to click, please!

  5. Well on the plus side, kinda cool the press article didn’t say “The gun went off”.

    I live in the area, Ross Park mall security, what a joke.

  6. Wouldn’t most places that require you to store an unloaded firearm also ban the handling/manipulation of firearms as well. If so, why not simply leave the round chambered as it’s unlikely that it will be checked either way, and in the event that it is checked, state you were complying with the mandate to not handle/manipulate your firearm.

  7. I’m surprised that malls are even still a thing. Most of the anchor retailers are struggling, so ai’d assume it’s rough going for the smaller shops, too.

    I go to one mall, once per year, just before Valentine’s Day, because that particular mall has a See’s Candy shop. Outside of that, I might have occasion to make maybe one trip to some other mall maybe once every other year.

    Even with fading foot traffic, malls are still busy enough to be an annoyance and an enhanced violent/property crime risk. Good places to avoid.

    • “I’m surprised that malls are even still a thing.”

      Malls will be a ‘thing’ in Americas as long as you have the (accurate) stereotype of the lazy American.

      Park the car once and hit a number of shops. I have noticed an evolution in the mall concept recently, the ‘village’ concept, where it is a cluster of buildings surrounded by parking. That way, when a store gets ‘old’ they can just doze it and build new, continually ‘refreshing’ the property. Once you build a regional mall (under one roof), the very moment a competitor builds a new one nearby, your mall is now the ‘old’ mall, and your traffic drops off *fast*…

  8. So, he literally shot the guy’s ass, and no negligence charges are expected???

    Could I expect the same in that jurisdiction if I shot a fellow shopper while deholstering and unloading in the parking lot of a GFZ?

    • It’s always a bigger deal if you shoot a complete stranger. Or a kid.
      When you shoot your own buddy, you get a pass. Like Dick Cheney.

      The dude lost his job because of his negligence. Maybe the local prosecutor figures that’s punishment enough, and there’s no need to clog up the justice system with idiots like this.

  9. My wife has worked in different malls for most of the 38 years we’ve been married. I have never known of a mall to arm their guards, mostly for insurance reasons. It sounds like this guy was not armed on duty, but he was getting ready to carry under his CC permit after work.

    I am from MO originally and one of my early jobs was as a security guard and department store detective. MO had, and still has, a law that armed security guards can only carry revolvers, unless their agency gets special permission. This is probably one of the reasons.

  10. Wait, am I reading that right? Do I have a brain tumor or something? “He accidentally fired it?” Not, “It suddenly discharged?” Ok, everything I thought I knew about the universe is wrong. I need to go lie down….

  11. Sounds like another stupid policy where security is required to disarm when they get to work. I ignore that policy where I am, for reasons such as this.

  12. I’ve said time and again that a major cause of NDs is unnecessary handling of the firearm. This incident falls squarely in that category. Silly laws like “Gun Free (Murder) Zones” only cause people to have NDs, causing personal injury or death. Maybe one day our beloved politicians will realize this and put an end to the whole sordid mess.


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