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Grand jury indicts security guard in store customer shooting

December 3, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Multnomah County grand jury has returned a murder indictment against a security guard who wasn’t certified to carry a gun on the job for shooting to death a customer outside a Lowe’s Home Care Center in North Portland.

Logan C. Gimbel, 28, shot Freddy Nelson, 49, as Nelson sat in the driver’s seat of his truck on May 29, police said.

Gimbel was patrolling the Delta Shopping Center and has said the shooting was in self-defense, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

A grand jury didn’t agree, returning an indictment that charges Gimbel with second-degree murder with a firearm, unlawful use of a firearm, recklessly endangering another person and two counts of unlawful use of mace.

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Gimbel turned himself in Thursday to the Portland Police Bureau and he’s being held without bail at the Multnomah County Detention Center.

Attorney Tom D’Amore, who has filed a $25 million wrongful death suit against Gimbel and his employer on behalf of Nelson’s family, called the development “good, but bittersweet news for Mr. Nelson’s wife Kari and the children.”

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt pledged to work with state lawmakers to tighten controls and training for private security guards in Oregon and issued a news release with similar statements from legislators who chair the state’s House and Senate judiciary committees.

Gimbel, who worked for the Cornerstone Security Group, wasn’t certified to carry a gun while working security, according to records with the state Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. He surrendered his unarmed private security certification in June as the state agency moved to revoke it for having a gun on the job and using deadly force with the gun while working.

Gimbel said he had received armed security training and sent an application to the agency for the armed certification, according to the records. But the department indicated that it never got the application and that it was Gimbel’s responsibility to follow up, the records showed.

Nelson had gone to the Lowe’s to buy materials for a remodeling project. Nelson parked his truck in the lot and gathered some of his belongings while wife Kari Nelson walked to the garden center, according to the family’s lawyer.

Gimbel then pulled up and blocked the truck, D’Amore said. Gimbel told Nelson that he was under arrest, but Nelson argued that the guard had no authority to arrest him, D’Amore said.

Security officials at the property had put out a “be on the lookout” order for Nelson and would harass or intimidate him when he was seen, D’Amore said. It’s not clear what led to such an order.

Nelson’s wife heard an argument and returned to the truck.

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According to the lawyer, Freddy Nelson told Gimbel that he was leaving and the couple got into the truck and locked their doors. Gimbel tried unsuccessfully to open a door, then pushed a bottle of pepper spray through a cracked back window and sprayed inside, according to D’Amore.

The guard then walked in front of the truck, raised his pistol and ordered the couple not to move, the lawyer said. Moments later, Gimbel fired four shots, striking Freddy Nelson three times, D’Amore said.

Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the case “fortifies the need to review the current level of de-escalation training and tactical engagement that private security personnel receives to obtain their certification or license.”

Matthew Cady, one of the owners of Cornerstone, told the state that Gimbel was wearing a body camera during the incident that the company turned over to the Portland Police Bureau. According to Cady, Gimbel had previous problems with Nelson.

On the night of the shooting, Nelson acted as if he was going to run over the guard with his car, Cady said. Gimbel warned Nelson to stop, but he continued and Gimbel fired, according to Cady.