confessions of a miami gun range employee. food for thought.

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Reverend Herc
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confessions of a miami gun range employee. food for thought.

Post by Reverend Herc » 20 Jan 2016, 18:34

This was written by a friend of a friend. I think it is something everyone should read before they go to that inexpensive place to shoot. There are parts that are graphic, so use your own discretion to continue reading.

Last year I posted about an accidental shooting and death, which I was unfortunately witness to and involved in. Multiple people wanted me to be more specific about where this occurred and exactly what happened. It's been long enough now, that I am willing to actually talk about this and will do so. I do so for two reasons. One, because I believe that even now, the conditions which resulted in this unnecessary death still exist today and if I can somehow stop one more person from dying like that, then its worth talking about. Two, I open up about it, because I believe that the party truly responsible for that death, has never taken actual responsibility for his role in that innocent man dying.

I worked at Miami Guns and initially took the job as the Operations Manager, as well as the in house gunsmith. One of the things that I always pushed for, was for firearm safety. I continuously complained to the owner Frank Abay at the lack of firearm safety being observed in the store and range. Specifically, I was really bothered that as inexperienced first time gun users came in using "Group On" purchases for 1 hour range sessions, including 1 gun, 50 rounds of ammo and "one on one firearms training", they were not being properly screened and trained to handle a firearm.

As a certified NRA firearms instructor and having been involved with firearms for well over 2 decades now, firearm safety is paramount for me. I'll try to outline what the firearm "training" new first time users got was like. I would see inadequately qualified employees give the training like this...

Ok, so this is the gun you will be shooting, its a 22 so its not really like, a real gun, think of it more like a bb gun or airsoft gun. (handling the gun and showing it to the customers) These are your bullets, you load them like this (loading a magazine and showing that to the customer) You cock the gun like this, and this is the trigger. If you have any problems just let us know. They'd hand the customer the gun, target, ammo and send them unescorted into the range. There you go. Quick and easy firearm safety training, approved by Frank Abay. I constantly and I mean constantly brought this to his attention as being dangerous and a risk.

Whenever I gave the firearms safety brief, it took some 15 to 20 minutes, and I was sure to cover what the 3 cardinal rules of gun safety are, I'd show the customers how to properly hold, load, fire, the proper stance to aim, then I'd quiz them on the 3 cardinal rules of gun safety again etc etc until I felt that they understood what could result if they failed to follow my rules.

Well, when you are constantly walking into the store to rape the cash register of all cash like Frank Abay did and still does.....when you are constantly failing to pay your employees on time, because you "don't have the money", when you have multiple gun distributors who refuse to sell to you anymore because you raped them on an order you failed to pay.....well, this guy is all about getting cash in his pocket no matter what and to him, cash in the hand trumps any security concern ever. EVER.

During my time there, there were 2 accidental discharges by employees which luckily resulted in no injuries. One of those discharges, the bullet missed my left thigh and femoral artery by less than 5 inches. Since I have left there and taken my licenses elsewhere, I have visited..and been floored to learn from employees that Frank Abay, now lets them carry their sidearms..but requires that they NOT have a round chambered. I guess its easier to require something moronic like that, rather than actually institute proper training, and rather than hiring employees that won't be dicking around with their guns in the store. So very sad.

So, on the day before Valentines day last year, on Friday February 13th, I was working at the gun range. I was in the office, turning some stainless steel stock for a suppressor. Also in the store was Valerie, Marino, Myself and two other employees I believe. I frankly cannot remember who they were. A longtime customer, Daniel Brito entered the store to shoot, and he was sent into the range, lane #7. A short bit later, a young girl, 18 or 19 or so, and her boyfriend arrived with a GroupOn coupon. They were given a Ruger SR22, a shitty firearm safety intro, and sent into the range into lane #8.

A short bit later, I turned off the lathe and exited the office and went and sat in the lobby. Moments later, a male customer opened the door to the range and said, hey, some guy fell in here. I got up and unsure of what was up, headed into the range. Upon entering, I found a white male, approximately 50 years old, laying on his back. He was still wearing ear muffs which were now placed more near his cheeks than anything, but still touching his ear lobes. Under his head, a pool of blood was forming and there was some splatter on his white shirt. Valerie Espinosa had entered the range behind me, and I looked up at her near the door and yelled at her to call 911. I then saw multiple customers in the range holding cellphones taking video. I immediately ordered them all out of the range.

The young couple from lane #8 was to my right and the young girl was crying. I told them out as well.

I immediately assessed the man and found a weak pulse and he was breathing but was unresponsive. I carefully checked to see where he was bleeding from and discovered a very large open flap on the back of his head, where his skull had essentially ripped open like a large hinge and flap. By this time, Valerie entered the range again and brought me some towels. I placed on over the open head wound to try and stem the massive bleeding. I assumed at this point, based on the open would on the back of his head, that he had perhaps committed suicide, putting barrel into his mouth and firing. It is the only thing that made sense to me at the moment. I the became puzzled to see that the pool of blood was getting bigger and bigger. I started to immediately check his torso for other open wounds but could not see anything. It was at this time that I moved his hearing protection muffs, when a stream of blood started pulsing from in front of his ear but below the temple. The blood had been free flowing into the hearing protection muff unseen. I inserted my index finger into the hole and stopped the bleeding.

During all of this time, Daniel Brito was breathing, though labored. He was not speaking nor did he appear conscious at all. I continued speaking to him nonetheless until paramedics arrived. Once they did I offered to move to allow them to work but they said no. Keep the pressure on the wounds for now. They wired him up for his vitals and eventually loaded him and rolled him out.

I had chunks of brain on my hand and there was blood everywhere. I honestly thought I had left those kinds of bloody scenes behind when I left my military and then law enforcement service. I was wrong.

The owner, Frank Abay was immediately notified. He claimed he was in the keys or on his way there. The police wanted the surveillance footage,which would show the shooting. When we entered the camera room, we found that there was no hard drive in the machine. Upon reaching Frank Abay by phone, he claimed that it was just a live system, and not recording.

Later in the evening, we discovered that the young lady in lane #8 had been loading her gun. Because she was not properly trained and because there was NO RANGE MASTER present...she held the gun in her right hand, with the muzzle pointed to the left, while she inserted the magazine, finger on the trigger, other finger on the slide release. As she slapped the magazine in, she also dropped the slide and her finger on the trigger discharged the gun. The round entered the thin PLYWOOD partition to her left. Daniel Brito was standing right there and without warning, the bullet passed the partition and entered his head, right side, below the temple and in front of the ear.

Daniel Brito was brain dead at the hospital but kept alive until his family could arrive to say their goodbyes.

In the parking lot that night, after the police had left, Frank Abay divulged that he in fact, had the video of the shooting. The security system was monitored via his cellphone and he simply did not want to give the video up to avoid "legal issues". Instead of calling a professional company to come out and clean up the crime scene of the blood and brains, he directed Valerie Espinosa, to go clean it up. She did, and that traumatized her. His next act really cemented what type of person he was. He went on to express that regardless, tomorrow was valentines day and we needed to get ready for a busy day, to make $$$. I have since found out that the family of Daniel Brito drove by the gunstore that next day. They expected, if not for the business to be closed, for there to be some sort of gesture, balloons, flowers, a sign observing the tragic death of Daniel Brito. Instead, what they saw was Frank Abay going about his business without a care in the world. He said repeatedly in his office that he had insurance and they'd pay the family off. Nice huh.

Well, fast forward to today. Guys, ladies, friends. If safety is of no concern to you, then go shoot at Miami Guns. Where high powered rifles are allowed on an indoor handgun only range, where lead poisoning is prevalent thanks to the improper non working ventilation system and where Frank Abay is known for less than "good" things. I changed my federal firearms license name, because at the gun shows, anytime someone saw that my FFL name was "Miami Guns, Range & Gunsmithing" I instantly got snarky and less than positive looks. Miami Guns, under his ownership has garnered a less than positive reputation.
There can only be two.

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Re: confessions of a miami gun range employee. food for thou

Post by blueorison » 20 Jan 2016, 20:29

...wow, Rev. That's sad and yet not shocking.

Thank you for sharing. That itself must've taken a toll.

The above and below is why never visit public ranges.

Fact: There are many idiots in this world, especially in this day and age. Many happen to have no criminal record and thus are able to own firearms. Out of that many, many do buy firearms. Hence, there are a lot of idiots who own firearms.

I stay very far away from them. My private range conducts background checks on memberships and they have all new members on probation. It is outdoors and the nicest range I've seen across all of America that is its kind. Less than an hour away from the city, etc. It is mostly populated with ex MIL, so they at least know how to handle their firearms.

We also installed cameras. I'm very adamant about kicking people off the membership when they violate rules. I'm very enthusiastic when they do get kicked out.

I also very enthusiastically teach and train new firearm owners and realize that many do not care to be taught because they are idiots or egotistical.

I have no qualms calling the latter idiots and getting them kicked of the range when they muzzle me with loaded firearms.

Stay safe.
Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.
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Stop relying on others to do the work for you.
Shoot more, worry less.

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Re: confessions of a miami gun range employee. food for thou

Post by panzermk2 » 21 Jan 2016, 06:38

Damn.
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Re: confessions of a miami gun range employee. food for thou

Post by Rapier1772 » 22 Jan 2016, 09:18

blueorison wrote:I have no qualms calling the latter idiots and getting them kicked of the range when they muzzle me with loaded firearms.
Should be when getting muzzled by any firearms.
I can't tell you how many times I've been muzzled by supposedly unloaded firearms that turned out to be loaded.

Rev,
Thank you for sharing this. Safety should be paramount in anyone's mind when handling a firearm. People like this Frank should be charged with criminal negligence or something like that.
Contrary to popular belief, you CAN fix stupid - it's just illegal.
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Re: confessions of a miami gun range employee. food for thought.

Post by Shotgunner » 11 Apr 2017, 07:55

I am speechless. I work at a gun range as well. We preach safety. We offer first time shooter courses. I have been going to this range for thirty years now. I've been employed there for about two months. I'm just the cleaner. I walk the range often. We don't have anyone on the range as a monitor though. This is one thing I don't like. In the past the clientele was different than it is today. I don't like what I am seeing today. After reading this post I am 90% sure that I will be leaving that job. I only work two hours per day and the benefits I get are discounts on ammo and guns which is actually almost nothing and I get to shoot for free. I no longer feel it's worth it.

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