Business owners and patrons in the strip mall where a Vancouver man was cited for unlawful carrying of a weapon told investigators the man was “giving everyone the eyeball with his hand on his gun” and looked as if “he wanted to draw attention to himself,” according to police records obtained Wednesday.
It was based on those observations by a husband and wife and a 71-year-old man that the City Attorney’s Office decided to press forward with charges against 26-year-old Kurk Kirby, according to Kevin McClure, a supervising prosecutor.
Unlawful carrying of a weapon is a gross misdemeanor, carrying a sentence of up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
An initial hearing is scheduled May 12 at 8:30 a.m.
Kirby pleaded not guilty in a notice of appearance filed by his attorney, Christopher Dumm.
In the initial report, police wrote that Kirby made no menacing statements or gestures to anyone while he was at the strip mall at 5000 E. Fourth Plain Blvd. He simply stood around near stores for 10 to 15 minutes before someone called 911, according to a Vancouver Police Department report.
But additional investigation requested by McClure found witnesses who said they saw Kirby “going into the draw position.”
He looked like “Wyatt Earp, ready to draw,” one eyewitness told police. Another witness told police he was “concerned enough with Kirby’s appearance and demeanor that he not only called 911 but kept all his kids inside prior to police arrival,” according to reports.
McClure said he made his decision to proceed with the case based on witness statements.
Authorities said the state law that applies to the case is RCW 9.41.270.
That law says: “It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, exhibit, display, or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons.”
Vancouver Police Cpl. Marshall Henderson noted in the report that two of the witnesses possess concealed handgun licenses.
According to the initial police report, three officers approached the strip mall, which includes an Albertsons, and saw Kirby outside, wearing a skin-tight T-shirt that didn’t cover the large holstered gun.
The report said the officers contacted him, and one took the gun and extra ammo magazines from him.
The Springfield Armory XP pistol had a round in its chamber and several more in the magazine snapped into its handle. More cartridges were in the two extra magazines, for a total of 35, the report said.
A day earlier, Kirby and his wife were escorted out of the Westfield Vancouver Mall where security officers reported he had been “belligerent,” according to the report.
Henderson, the Vancouver police officer, interviewed witnesses at the mall who described Kirby and his wife as “boisterous” and said they were “scaring customers.”
The witnesses told police they didn’t see Kirby or his wife, Dawn Kirby, “do anything with the guns, but the overall conduct was out of the norm enough that it made them nervous,” according to the report.
Dawn Kirby’s gun was tucked into her pants. One employee said she thought the way it was being carried was “hazardous,” the report said.
Contacted Wednesday, Dumm said he has not yet viewed the reports and declined comment on the case, saying, “I got a message recently that additional discovery was made. But it didn’t mention this case specifically.”
He has advised Kirby not to comment.
The case has drawn the attention of advocates in the open-carry movement, including OpenCarry.org, which calls itself “a pro-gun Internet community focused on the right to openly carry properly holstered handguns in daily American life.”
Bob Albrecht: 360-735-4522 or email@example.com.