Those with guns surely seem more ready to wield them first these days and ask questions later.
A Colorado State University (CSU) football player, working a summer job for a roofing company, was ordered to the ground and held at gunpoint last Thursday, June 11, by a man who mistook the player and another roofing company employee as being members of the activist group known as Antifa.
The incident occurred in Loveland when 65-year-old Scott Gudmundsen called police to report two men wearing face masks going door-to-door in his neighborhood. Gudmundsen reportedly told police he was going to confront the two men.
When police arrived they found him wearing fatigues and armed with two pistols, holding both men on the ground at gunpoint. He was arrested and booked on felony charges of menacing and false imprisonment, according to Larimer County jail records.
His son apologized for his father’s actions, saying he was undergoing treatment at a mental health facility. There was no explanation on why Gudmundsen thought that two roofing company employees were members of a left-wing activist group.
Both men were wearing blue polo shirts with their company’s name on them and white face masks. This was their company’s protocol to prevent the spread of the coronavirus known as COVID-19. Police did not identify either of the victims, who were surveying the area for roof damage after a recent hail storm.
The story might have ended there, if not for the fact that ESPN picked up the story from 9News Denver affiliate KUSA.
CSU University president Joyce McConnell, athletic director Joe Parker, and head football coach Steve Addazio addressed the situation immediately. The school says it is not identifying the football player “out of an abundance of respect for the privacy and well-being of the student-athlete and their family.” But they said, “Our student is a young man of color, while the perpetrator is white,” the letter read.
“Regardless of what investigators learn or reasons the perpetrator gives, we know this: Our student got up Thursday morning, worked out with his team, then showered, dressed, and went to work. Hours later, he was facing a stranger with a gun and hearing police sirens that had been inexplicably called on him. Given what we have seen happening in cities across this country, we know all too well that this encounter could have proceeded very differently.”
Protesters across the country have rallied against racism since the death of George Floyd has led to protests opposing police violence against people of color. CSU has made a strong statement against racial injustice saying: “As a university and as a community, CSU is avowedly anti-racist and anti-violence. We are appalled at this expression of violence and hate visited upon one of our students. We condemn racism in all its forms and expressions and are working to build an equitable, anti-racist community that can be a model for others.
The incident does raise these questions: when a person is undergoing mental health treatment, should guns remain available to them? Where would this man have gotten the mistaken idea that any black man on property near his home wearing a face mask should be suspect?