So today a rumor swept Hollywood about recent gunplay in a crowded lobby of a top talent agency. Here’s the reality: I’ve been told about an accidental gun discharge incident at Creative Artists Agency in Beverly Hills on January 28th at 1:50 p.m. You first need to know that no one was hurt: it was a Saturday and the lobby was empty, and only three people were in the entire building, not including the security guards. And the security guard was employed by Gavin de Becker & Associates, which protects CAA and William Morris and about 1,400 other companies and is widely regarded as one of the leading firms in the field of public figure protection and threat assessment. De Becker told me tonight: “Even though accidental discharges are frequent occurrences in law enforcement, the military, and the private sector, we are grateful to have the lowest rate of accidental discharges I know of: two incidents in 31 years. The former employee involved in this accidental discharge was trained by the U.S. Marines, passed the state training requirements, and completed our academy – and we are grateful that the incident never posed any danger to anyone.”
I’ve learned what happened: the guard was working the 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift and at his security post when he followed standard procedure and checked the “417” which is security codespeak for taking the firearm out of its locked lockbox and examining it. He looked inside the chamber and noticed there was a round of ammo. And then in attempting to clear the chamber, he reported the gun went off accidentally. The shot left a small round chip in the building’s lobby floor. Sources told me the guard appeared before a board of review with de Becker’s firm and was subsequently terminated. As for the incident itself, it was reported immediately to the guard’s de Becker supervisor, who reported it to a de Becker partner. That next workday, January 30th, the president and co-partner of the de Becker company, Michael LaFever, personally went to CAA to inform the agency about what had happened. That same day, De Becker personally emailed a notice about the accidental discharge to the director of the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services including the guard’s own report. I have confirmed that no report was made to the Beverly Hills police by de Becker’s firm. There are all sorts of lame jokes I could make about this incident, but I don’t find much funny about guns. Finally, De Becker’s firm, which has had CAA as a client for 25 years, is still protecting the agency.