• September 16, 2014

Charges dismissed against Fort Hood staff sergeant

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Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013 4:30 am

A Fort Hood soldier who was arrested and charged with a crime for bringing a concealed handgun into a local hospital had his charges dismissed.

Staff Sgt. Nathaniel Owen Sampson had a concealed handgun license when he brought his Springfield .45 into Metroplex Hospital’s emergency room March 30. State law prohibits concealed weapons from being brought to several places, such as convenience stores, bars and hospitals.

Through the legal wrangling that ultimately led to the dismissal of charges late Tuesday, Sampson and his attorney, Kurt Glass, maintained there was no notification on the doors of the hospital’s ER indicating weapons were prohibited when Sampson entered the hospital.

Glass said he took a picture of the doors in April and was prepared to show a blown-up photo projection of the doors at trial.

The doors have since had a sticker affixed to them indicating the illegality of bringing a weapon into the hospital, whether with a concealed handgun license or not.

Despite the dismissal, Sampson said he remained irritated with the Killeen Police Department over a lack of “education” shown by the officers who arrested him and how the charge placed his military career in limbo.

“It was a slap in the face,” Sampson said.

He had been a weapon liaison at Fort Hood, but after his arrest, his commanders stripped him of the additional duty title. “It put my character into question,” he said.

It also temporarily invalidated Sampson’s concealed handgun license, which should now be returned after some paperwork is turned over to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Sampson went to Metroplex Hospital shortly after midnight March 30 to check on his girlfriend, who is now his wife.

He had recently returned from a deployment in Iraq. That night the two had been drinking.

A police report stated his wife drank four bottles of wine, which led to a disturbance. Sampson called 911, and paramedics took her to the hospital. He followed in his car.

When he entered the ER, a security officer spotted a bulge under Sampson’s shirt and asked if it was a gun. Sampson told the officer it was. He was detained until police arrested him.

The Bell County Attorney’s office dismissed the charge for lack of evidence, court documents stated.

All that remains for Sampson now is to have his gun returned. It was a gift from his wife.

“I just want to get my weapon back and go on with my life,” he said.

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6 comments:

  • markL posted at 12:19 pm on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    markL Posts: 7

    I agree that the hospital should have had some sort of signage, but I do not disagree with the actions of the security guard nor the KPD officers involved. When someone walks into a public place "packing" after a few drinks, who can blame others for erring on the side of caution?
    That said, it shows a lack of forethought on the sergeant's part. In hindsight, he should have left the weapon in his vehicle. After all, why would you walk into a busy ER armed? More importantly, what would you think if an armed individual walked into an ER containing women and children that you were responsible for guarding?
    Sarge, consider yourself lucky, learn from this, and move on.

     
  • copymachines posted at 10:30 am on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    copymachines Posts: 2

    Metroplex has since put a "sticker" on the door indicating the illegality? Oh, that's cute. Unless it's a 30.06 sign in proper specifications, I'm still bringing my pistol in there, per CHL laws.

    Perfectly legal to carry into a hospital unless properly posted, as RottenApple so correctly indicated below. This story seemed obvious from the beginning. I have met KPD officers who have not been familiar with the law, and also educated them with printouts from the Penal Code, then they admitted they were wrong. They're human beings, not robots or lawyers. They know as much as they retain, just like you or me.

    However when making an arrest, it's probably important to make sure it's a good arrest instead of putting someone through this. Was it immediately known they just had a domestic disturbance? Somehow I don't think so... so no reason to 'err on the side of caution'.

    Either way, the soldier was in the wrong only because the security guard noticed his gun. By CHL law, it cannot be "discernible by ordinary observation". If cops get involved, the most they can do is charge him with Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon (UCW) for not properly concealing. Sometimes the cops don't even get involved in those situations though.

    Glad this case is over, sucks that he had to beat the rap in the first place.

     
  • bk posted at 7:00 am on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    bk Posts: 2

    Whether or not it was posted or not, anyone with common sense would figure that it might not be the brightest thing to conceal a weapon under your shirt when going to the emergency room to visit your girlfriend after a "domestic disturbance". How were the police supposed to know that he did not intend on shooting the girlfriend. Glad he got the charges dropped, and his career is safe, but I do not think the police were wrong for erring on the safe side.

     
  • RottenApple posted at 3:21 pm on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    RottenApple Posts: 1

    Mr. Jankowski, you might want to check your information before submitting a story. "State law prohibits concealed weapons from being brought to several places, such as convenience stores, bars and hospitals." No, sir, it is not. UNLICENSED (i.e. - a person without a CHL) possession is illegal in convenience stores, bars are only illegal IF they derive 51% or more of their revenue from the sale of alcohol for on-premise consumption, and hospitals are only illegal to carry in IF they post a sign (the requirements of which can be found in Texas Penal Code 30.06. Please familiarize yourself with the subject matter before filing a story.

     
  • Bubba posted at 1:16 pm on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 694

    I called it when this story broke. The hospital and the KPD need to apologize; as does the AG. The Sergeant's unit needs to clear his record. The KPD needs to return the Sergeant's property. All concerned need to hope the Sergeant doesn't sue their stupid butts for false arrest, false imprisonment, illegal property confiscation, and harassment.

     
  • Wyoungs posted at 12:38 pm on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    Wyoungs Posts: 2

    That's fantastic. But it's not illegal to carry a concealed weapon into a convenience store unless its posted with the proper signage.