We saw the following police report on September 5th, 2019. A representative from the Circleville Police Department said that when the officers got there, the subject of the call could not be found. We uncovered that a man matching this description was trespassed by Walmart after a call to the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) later that day.
According to a report filed by deputy Eitel of the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), at 6:48 PM on September 5th, Deputy Brooke Cano was dispatched to the Circleville Walmart. The call indicated a male was wearing a black tactical vest, black tactical pants, boots and was carrying a pistol on his side. When the Sheriff’s office arrived, they found the man sitting on a bench outside the grocery entrance to the Walmart and identified him as Daniel Fish of Groveport, Ohio.
On August 3rd, about a month prior to this call, a mass shooting occurred at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas. The gunman killed 22 people and injured 24 others. On September 3rd, 2 days before Fish was banned from the Circleville Walmart, the company asked customers not to openly carry firearms into their stores; however, they didn’t make a policy banning the practice or place signs at the stores’ entrances asking customers not to open Carry. Read more on this wikipedia article.
Lt. Detective Dale Parish from the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office talked with Fish and found that he was carrying a stainless Remington 1911 Pistol. Parish spoke with Walmart management who says that Fish had been in the Walmart three times since noon carrying the pistol and wearing the tactical vest. Initially one of the store managers didn’t think Fish was a threat and allowed him to shop in the store. A second manager says he received multiple complaints about Fish, because of how he was dressed and because he had the pistol in plain view. After he contacted corporate management, he was directed to trespass Fish, preventing him from ever returning to any Walmart stores. When a written trespass notice is given to someone and it’s witnessed by law enforcement, returning to the property could land that person in jail.
Fish says he was at the Walmart on September 5h. He was aware of the infamous El Paso shootings and says, “So clearly, obviously that’s a place where bad people go to find a large mass of people and do bad things. So not wanting to be a victim, I obviously would exercise my second amendment rights, therefore, I carry my firearm.”
Fish told us that he was wearing a tactical vest, blue-jeans, and boots, and was carrying his pistol openly. The vest could be made into a bullet-proof vest by inserting kevlar plates, but Fish says he did not have the plates in when he was trespassed from the store. Fish added that he found the alarm over his vest silly. “When has a vest ever hurt anybody? A vest is purely there as protection and not there as an intimidation or as a threat because it’s an article of clothing; essentially, it can’t hurt anybody.”
Deputy Eitel gave Fish a ride to a Circleville address after Walmart issued him the trespass paperwork. The deputy secured the gun and knife during the trip and returned the weapons to Fish after dropping him off. Lt. Parish says, “Daniel Fish was very cooperative and didn’t try to cause any problems.”
Fish says he was just there to shop. He noted, “I never go anywhere with the intention of causing an incident. I never go anywhere with the intention of putting fear in people’s minds. I am an avid supporter of the Second Amendment, and I just wish people weren’t so fearful.” Fish added that he was disappointed in the trespass, saying, “I was trespassed against one of my favorite places to shop without ever having broken a policy or ever having broken a law.”
According to a representative at the Circleville Police Department, no contact was made earlier in the day when a call came in on Lancaster Pike about a man matching Fish’s description. Fish says this call was probably related to him, as he was at a general store in that area the same day.
Walmart did not return our request for comment submitted to their corporate site.
In lieu of being able to speak to a Walmart representative, we sought the expert opinion of Harold Wayne Gray, Jr. Gray is a former Circleville Chief of Police, and he currently teaches concealed carry certification classes. Gray says that he’s in favor of people carrying their weapon all the time, but he recommends getting a conceal permit so they can conceal carry. He says, “If you do not have a permit, you cannot legally carry it concealed. If you choose to carry it openly you should expect someone to have an objection. “
Gray said that people should respect the wishes of property owners. He says, “If a property owner does not have a sign indicating that firearms are prohibited but they request you carry concealed or in a manner that does not cause alarm, we as reasonable people, should try to honor that.”
An advocate for the second amendment, Gray says some people make a show of carrying in order to draw attention or intimidate others, and that’s wrong. “I saw a guy the other day coming out of a grocery store here in Circleville, that had a handgun on both hips and one in a holster on the small of his back. Why? Just to draw attention is my best guess.” Gray says he wants people to carry firearms, and if you don’t have a permit, that means carrying on the outside of your clothing. He says, “Don’t make it the only thing people see. If a store owner or manager asks you to secure the firearm or leave you should do it.”
Now when Fish shops, he tends to conceal his firearm. He says he shops at Kroger. Kroger made a similar request of its customers to not open carry shortly after Walmart made their public request. He says, “It would suck if I got trespassed from Kroger too, because then where would I buy my food? I’ve actually had zero problems ever at any Kroger, whether it was Groveport, inner city Columbus or here in Circleville. I’ve had zero problems at Kroger. I love Kroger.”