Toledo, OH – A security guard at an IRS office pulled a gun on a uniformed deputy and attempted to take him into custody for refusing to disarm.
The incident occurred on May 31, after on-duty Lucas County Sheriff’s Deputy Alan Gaston stopped by the IRS office at 4 Seagate to ask a question about a letter he had received, WTVG reported.
After he’d walked inside, he was confronted by armed security guard Seth Eklund, who told him he couldn’t have his duty weapon inside the office.
Eklund ordered Deputy Gaston to take the gun out to his vehicle, but the deputy said that he cannot disarm while on duty.
As Deputy Gaston turned and walked out of the office, Eklund followed behind him with a gun pointed at the deputy’s back, security footage showed.
Deputy Gaston said he recalled “basically preparing myself to be shot at that moment,” WTVG reported. “Bracing for a shot in my back.”
The deputy continued to walk away from Eklund, who followed him out to the elevators with his gun still drawn, the video showed.
"There's really no way to know how you're going to act when there's a gun pointed at you and when you think you're going to lose your life," Deputy Gaston said.
With his gun still drawn, the security guard reached out and unsuccessfully attempted to take Deputy Gaston into custody.
Deputy Gaston, a defensive tactics instructor, determined that walking away was the best way to de-escalate the tense situation.
He said he was also concerned that Eklund’s behavior was putting other people in the building at risk.
Meanwhile, an employee inside the 911 office called Toledo police to report that there was a man with a gun inside the building and that he wouldn’t leave, WTVG reported.
The caller didn’t mention that the armed man was a uniformed sheriff’s deputy who was trying to exit the building.
Toledo police arrived at the scene and quelled the situation, and Eklund has since been charged with aggravated menacing.
He is scheduled to appear in court next week.
Deputy Gaston said that Eklund “went 0 to 100” with regards to his use of force, and said that his behavior indicated a lack of training.
The deputy noted that he believes the security guard’s use of lethal force was “unacceptable” in that situation.
Deputy Gaston is currently on medical leave after suffering psychological and emotional distress as a result of the incident, WTVG reported.
He and his wife have filed a civil lawsuit against Eklund and the security company seeking compensation for lost wages and psychological damage.
Eklund and the IRS office have not responded to requests for comment, WTVG reported.