James Holmes's tactical gear provider accused of having "blood on its hands"
After some of the equipment belonging to Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes was traced back to a Chesterfield, Missouri company called Tactical Gear, reps spoke out about the ties online. Since then, as noted by our eagle-eyed sister blog at St. Louis' Riverfront Times, Tactical Gear employees have been threatened even as COO Andrew Hoefener redirected some of the criticism facing the company toward outlets that provide guns and ammunition, not just armor and accessories.
"I think if any additional scrutiny needs to be paid, it's probably to ammunition sourcing online and firearms, and how those are purchased," Hoefener said in an interview with St. Louis' KMOV.
You can watch that interview here:
According to CEO Chad Weinman, who released a statement on the company's website yesterday, James Holmes placed an order through TacticalGear.com on July 2. He requested an "urban assault vest, two magazine pouches and a tactical knife," which cost him a total of $306.79, and he paid an extra $15.36 for UPS 2nd Day Air shipping to receive the gear faster. He signed for the entire order on July 5 at 1:21 Denver time.
On the company's Facebook page, officials posted a response about Holmes's choice of vendors, which has already garnered a generous amount of criticism in the comments section since it went live on Saturday. "Everyone at TacticalGear.com is shocked and appalled that the alleged shooter purchased tactical gear from us for use in this horrific attack. We process thousands of orders a day which include this type of equipment and there was nothing unusual about this particular order," reads the statement, in which the word 'tragedy' is misspelled. "We primarily serve members of the armed services and law enforcement professionals. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families of this terrible trajedy."
As critics point fingers at Tactical Gear and the company points fingers at weapons manufacturers, Weinman countered the claims against his company in his statement, which says employees have been victimized by the attention.
"We have since been inundated with countless phone calls, e-mails and interview requests," he wrote. "Much of this communication has been quite hostile and threatening in nature. We have been falsely accused of selling Mr. Holmes firearms and ammunition over the Internet illegally without conducting the mandated background checks. Some members of our customer relations team have been brought to tears by people insisting that we have 'blood on our hands.'"
In response to outcry over Hoefener's comments on gun vendors, Weinman emphasized the company's support of the right to bear arms.
"We want to set the record straight and (publicly) state that we fully support the 2nd amendment," he maintained. "The spirit of what we were trying to communicate was that tactical clothing and equipment should not be put in the same category as firearms and ammunition. Unfortunately, in some instances our choice of words were poor and misguided.... We wholeheartedly support the freedom Americans enjoy to legally purchase guns and ammunition. I personally believe that if some members of the audience had concealed carry weapons at hand that night perhaps less blood would have been shed. No amount of gun control is going to prevent a sociopath hell-bent on terrorism from hurting a large group of people."
For more information, read the RFT's full post.
Click through to read Weinman's full statement.