PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A grand jury will soon decide whether criminal charges should be filed nearly five months after a man was shot and killed by a security guard in a Lowe’s parking lot.
Freddy Nelson was shot and killed on May 29 in Portland’s East Columbia neighborhood by an armed security guard hired to patrol businesses in the Delta Park area.
Nelson’s family is now filing a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit, saying the guard wasn’t certified with the State of Oregon and should not have been carrying a gun.
The attorney for Nelson’s family, Tom D’Amore, said the 49-year-old was with his wife, Kari Nelson, when he was shot. D’Amore said Kari Nelson had gotten out of their truck and was walking toward the Lowe’s garden center when, for some reason, security guard Logan Gimbel blocked their truck with his vehicle.
“He had them pinned in there, there wasn’t anywhere to go,” said D’Amore.
At some point, Kari Nelson got back into the truck and Gimbel allegedly told Freddy Nelson he was going to “arrest him” and deployed pepper spray or mace through a window.
“He was busy walking around the driver’s side, spraying mace into the car,” said D’Amore.
The lawsuit then alleges that Gimbel opened fire, killing Freddy Nelson. D’Amore said the death has been hard on the family, particularly for the couple’s two sons and Kari Nelson, who witnessed it.
“Just the fright of yourself being right next to a person that’s being shot four times, three times in the chest,” said D’Amore. “Just that horror of it, but when you know it’s your husband that’s been killed by this person, it’s incredible.”
D’Amore said Lowe’s is not named as a defendant in the wrongful death suit because the company only leases the site. The lawsuit names Gimbel, Cornerstone Security Group and TMT Development Co. LLC. The lawsuit states that TMT hired the Cornerstone guards to patrol the properties on N. Hayden Meadows Driver.
D’Amore said TMT or Cornerstone Security Group had contact with Freddy Nelson in the past.
“He has a mobile home he lived in on some property out there but it was public property,” D’Amore said, “and they had an incident with the police where TMT brought the police out there to try to get him booted out of there.”
D’Amore said the family hopes the lawsuit prevents further tragedy.
“What they want more than anything — the family — is that this doesn’t happen again to someone else,” he said.
D’Amore said Oregon requires armed security guards to complete a certification process but state documents show Gimbel was not properly certified, therefore he “did not have the right to carry a gun.”
KOIN 6 News has reached out to Cornerstone and has not yet received a response.