Linda Bem had a bad feeling.
Erik Scott stood before her at the membership desk in Costco. She noticed his bleeding knuckles and unusual confusion as he stared at the one-page application form.
"Quite frankly, I was worried about him," Bem testified Friday.
When Scott began to complete the form, his writing was unreadable and he scribbled information in the wrong places. In frustration, he called his girlfriend, Samantha Sterner, over to do it for him, she said.
The encounter troubled Bem so much that she mentioned it to her supervisor.
"I sensed something was terribly wrong," the gray-haired woman said.
Her sense was prophetic.
Scott, a 38-year-old medical device salesman, would soon be shot dead by three Las Vegas police officers at the front doors of the Summerlin store.
Bem's testimony came Friday on the third day of a Clark County coroner's inquest into the July 10 shooting. She was one of 12 store employees and shoppers whose testimony helped paint the most complete picture to date of events leading up to the fatal gunfire.
With membership cards in hand, Scott and Sterner cut through a checkout lane to reach the store's main sales floor.
Cashier Arlene Houghton testified that she noticed the couple when Scott lost his balance and tumbled onto a checkout conveyor belt. Sterner grabbed his arm and propped him up on a shopping cart.
"He turned around and looked at me and said, 'I guess I really am (expletive)-up,' and they walked away," she testified, adding that Scott's face was flushed and his eyes appeared unfocused and glassy.
Cashier John Nikitas gave a slightly different account, saying he noticed the couple when Scott knocked over a sign.
"He told the lady who was with him, 'I told you I should not be in this effing place when I'm this drunk,' " he testified.
Several other employees told of odd encounters with Scott on the sales floor, where he was opening packages of metal water bottles and trying to stuff them into soft-sided coolers.
Floor supervisor Jerome Dwight "J.D." Arcano said Scott was pacing and acting paranoid, so he asked Loss Prevention Supervisor Shai Lierley to watch him.
"I was thinking he was on something," Arcano testified.
Minutes later Javier Torres, a store manager, said he saw Scott on his hands and knees, opening packages and stuffing merchandise into a backpack.
Scott approached Torres and asked whether the store sold neoprene bottle sleeves like those packaged with the bottles. Torres told him no, which seemed to irritate Scott, he said.
"He wasn't acting normal. ... He was a little bit agitated," Torres said. "I personally thought he was on something.''
Vince Lopez, an assistant store manager, said he offered to help Scott, and went to pick up packaging strewn about the aisle. Scott continued stuffing bottles into a cooler. When they didn't fit, Scott would rip open another package of identical bottles and try to fit them into the same cooler, he said.
Lierley's warning that Scott had a gun in his waistband prompted Lopez to tell Scott that Costco doesn't allow firearms in its stores.
Scott stood up and became "extremely agitated," Lopez said.
"He told me that it's a (expletive)-up policy, and he continued to say he was a Green Beret, he could carry a gun wherever he went, and he wasn't going to put up with that," he said.
Scott formed his hand into the shape of a gun, put it to Lopez's head and said that if someone were to put a real gun to Lopez's head, he would take care of the situation, Lopez testified.
Worried about Scott's intimidating and strange behavior, Lopez backed away. Lierley had already called 911.
The first Las Vegas police officer on the scene told Lopez to evacuate the store, and hundreds of people began spilling into the parking lot.
Sterner had been shopping elsewhere, but rejoined Scott. In a recorded statement played at the inquest, she told detectives she had heard about Scott's encounters with employees and figured he was the reason for the evacuation.
Sterner was called to testify Friday but did not show up. Her lawyer, Ross Goodman, told reporters that she was not properly subpoenaed, and suggested she wouldn't have testified anyway.
"Samantha is dying to come forward, but she's not going to do it in a one-sided forum," he said, referring to the inquest. Goodman has said the Scott family plans a civil suit against the police and Costco.
He and other critics of the inquest say it is unfair because only prosecutors and jurors can question witnesses. Family members and other interested parties can only submit written questions to the judge, who decides whether to ask them.
Without Sterner on the witness stand, prosecutors played the recording of her statement to police after the shooting. The self-described model and television hostess said she had known Scott for three years, and that he was acting normally that day. His interaction with employees was amicable, she said, even though she wasn't there to see it.
She said that as they walked toward the store's exit, she told Scott he was probably the reason for the evacuation, and that he seemed surprised.
They reached the exit door and Sterner said she saw an employee point Scott out to a uniformed police officer outside.
"He (Officer William Mosher) immediately draws his weapon and tells him to get on the ground," she said, adding that Scott put his hands up with the intention of disarming.
Sterner said she screamed at the officers that Scott was in the military and had a concealed weapons permit. She told them not to shoot, she said.
Scott raised his shirt to reveal the gun and had grabbed it to put it on the ground when the officer fired his pistol, she said.
Sterner said the officer "was too aggressive," and she believed he would have fired even if Scott had complied with all directions.
"I just think that this officer was out of line," she told police.
Scott was shot seven times by officers Mosher, Joshua Stark and Thomas Mendiola.
When a detective asked Sterner whether Scott took any medications, she said he was on a blood pressure drug and had also taken a pain pill the day before because of a car accident.
Scott's postmortem blood test showed high levels of the painkiller morphine and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.
Half a dozen shoppers testified that they saw Scott either pull his gun or reach for his waistband before the officers opened fire. Most said they heard only one officer giving commands. There has been some speculation that the three officers gave Scott conflicting commands that lead to confusion.
Annette Eatherton, who was shopping with her husband, said she saw Scott reach for his waist and then heard an officer say, "'Don't do that. Don't do that,' and he did it, and they shot him."
After the first shot, Eatherton said she saw a gun enclosed in a "gun rug" fall to the ground in front of Scott.
Her husband, Wentworth Eatherton, himself a former concealed weapons permit holder, gave a similar account and said he thinks Scott was probably trying to disarm, rather than draw his pistol and shoot. Still, he said, Scott should have followed the officer's commands.
"I really think he was just exasperated with the whole thing and wanted to hand them the gun which is where, I think, the mistake was made," Wentworth Eatherton said.
Shopper Barbara Fee testified that she and her 10-year-old granddaughter were sitting outside the exit door when they saw police confront Scott just feet away.
An officer yelled at Scott to get on the ground, but he reached for his hip, pulled a black object from his waist and aimed it at the officer, she said.
"I thought he was going to shoot the officer," she said. "Fortunately the officer was quicker."
Christopher Villareale testified that he watched the entire confrontation unfold after being one of the last shoppers to leave the store. He said he heard an officer order Scott to get on the ground and saw Scott lift his shirt and pull a handgun from his waistband.
"I honestly thought that civilians were going to get shot," Villareale said.
The officer probably saw Scott as a threat to himself and the dozens of people milling around the front doors, he said.
"He's probably thinking this guy is going to harm me or these customers, and I thought he did the right thing in shooting him," he said.
Villareale, who has a concealed weapons permit, said he had an incident with police about a year ago. He said he called police, and when officers arrived he put his gun down, laid face down on the ground and let himself be handcuffed.
After police investigated, they set him free and gave him his gun, he said.
If Scott had followed the officer's orders at Costco, that day would have ended much differently, he said.
"I just can't imagine grabbing a gun when you have a police officer pointing a gun and saying get on the ground. Why would you not comply?" Villareale said. "I think he made a very tragic error in grabbing it."
The inquest continues today at the Regional Justice Center. Authorities have said they plan to call about 50 witnesses before the seven-member jury is asked to determine whether the shooting was justified, excusable or criminal.