Our self-appointed citizen militia may need more training before we put them in elementary schools:
When Kolton McKinney, 12, unfolded the seat in a Tillamook movie theater Wednesday morning and heard a “plink,” he thought a part of the seat might have fallen out. Then the boy heard friend Levi Crabtree say, “Dude, there’s a gun.” A loaded Beretta 9mm semi-automatic handgun, that is. One bullet in the chamber. The safety off.
But authorities said the dangerous encounter turned out OK in no small part because the two boys did exactly as they should have. They stayed away from the gun and called for a teacher, who in turn called police to Tillamook’s Coliseum Theatre.
The boys were among three busloads of seventh-graders who struck out on a field trip to see “The Hobbit” at the downtown Tillamook theater Wednesday. The field trip was a reward for passing all of their fall classes, said Tillamook schools superintendent Randy Schild.
After McKinney and his friend alerted the teacher, the students were evacuated while Long and his deputies and Tillamook city police searched the theater. Once they found there were no other threats, they let the students back in to enjoy the film.
On Wednesday evening, Gary Quackenbush, 61, turned up at the theater seeking his missing gun, “like it would be in the lost and found with lost eyeglasses and other things,” said Long.
“He has a concealed handgun license,” Long said. “That will be revoked tonight. The law says if you are a danger to yourself or the public, it can be revoked.”A man answering a phone number listed for Quackenbush laughed and told a reporter, “Get a life.”
He meant well so no harm, no foul:
On Thursday, Quackenbush, 61, apologized for the scare and said he was up all night worrying about his missing gun. Police are now holding the pistol as evidence and have revoked Quackenbush’s concealed handgun permit.
Quackenbush said he carried the permit and weapon because of shootings such as the one at Clackamas Town Center and Sandy Hook Elementary School. He’s also a licensed gun dealer, but said he does very little selling and mostly steers buyers to good websites.
“You go into a mall and all of a sudden there is this jackass psycho killing people,” he said. “I’ll stand in front of a kid and take the bullet, but I’m going to take him out, too.”
Tillamook Police Chief Terry Wright said he’s recommending that Tillamook County prosecutors charge Quackenbush with reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it wouldn’t affect his gun-selling license.
“Wednesday I made sure I was at the movie house before their normal opening only to find that a school group had been there earlier. I had them call the police to inform them I was there to recover my property. Much to my shock the officer had a trail of media on his heels five minutes later. How they got there from Portland baffled me.”