On Saturday, August 29th, at approximately 5:24 p.m., immediately following a Black Lives Matters demonstration in Carson City at the Nevada State Legislature Complex, Officers from the Legislative Police and Carson Sheriff’s Office responded to a shooting that was later characterized as an accidental discharge of a weapon. Legislative Officers immediately seized an AK-47 Assault Rifle and detained the suspect, 22 year old Grant Ensenat McBeth. There were no injuries reported and the suspect was described as cooperative at the scene.
Officers continued their investigation, working closely with the Carson City District Attorney’s Office since the incident. Today, on September 3rd, a Warrant was issued by the Justice Court of Carson City for Negligent Discharge of a Firearm in Public, a Misdemeanor as defined by NRS 202.280. Bail was set at $500. The male was taken into custody by Carson City Detectives and Special Enforcement Deputies at his residence in Sparks NV, and later booked into the Carson City Jail. He was described as cooperative.
In a statement by District Attorney Jason Woodbury, he said that “People have a right to carry a firearm. However, they don’t have a right to do that carelessly in a way that endangers innocent lives.” Sheriff Ken Furlong added that “while weapons at demonstrations is very common, this incident should remind everyone of the dangers involved in carrying guns into demonstration areas where emotions often run high.” The Sheriff commended the response by Legislative Police Officers who maintained a calm and professional approach as they seized the weapon from the man and Deputies that insured the event did not turn into a catastrophic disaster. Though this incident is being characterized as an accidental discharge, at the instant of the gunfire, uninformed bystanders, some similarly armed, could have reacted aggressively. Fortunately, no significant disruption occurred except the single shot.
Even though the Black Lives Matters demonstration had officially ended prior to the incident, approximately 15 demonstrators remained in the area of the Legislature, including the suspect. Notably, other participants who had remained were likewise armed with weapons, but none drew their weapons in response to the gunshot. Further, few counter-demonstrators were in the area of the incident at the time, even though a significant counter-demonstration group entered the downtown area shortly after the suspect and his weapon were removed from the demonstration area.
Both Sheriff Ken Furlong and District Attorney Jason Woodbury discourage the carrying of weapons to the local demonstrations. While to date there have been no arrests, injuries, or property damage at the demonstrations, there have been multiple incidents of highly charged verbal conflicts, often requiring law enforcement to step in to de-escalate the arguments. The Sheriff commends the response by multiple agencies as they have responded together under a unified command structure weekly since March of this year, prior to the BLM movement. No changes in the law enforcement response plans to the demonstrations is anticipated at this time.