“Vinnie” Sampson is a native of Wakefield, Mass. who works for the U.S. Government in an unspecified occupation. He lives in Waco
Hewitt – Up until Thursday afternoon at the J.V. and Freshman game in Midway’s Panther Stadium, Hewitt’s stats for problems with handgun licensees were zero.
Chief of Police James Devlin made it clear in an interview. According to a video he says will make it clear to a judge and jury exactly what happened, Vincent Sampson, 46, who lists his occupation as employed by the U.S. Government on his Facebook page, had to work hard to get thrown in jail.
Officers charged Sampson with unlawfully carrying a weapon at a high school sporting event as a concealed carry handgun licensee.
But that didn’t happen until the school resource officer who apprehended him for carrying the weapon gave him “at least” three chances to just quietly take his gun and put it in his car.
Now Devlin will report to a legislative subcommittee that studies the issue that his city has had one such incident to report.
It’s the law. He, Devlin, did not make that law. “I just enforce it…I’ve got no problem with my officer,” he said.
It’s his department’s policy to train their officers to make every attempt to allow a person carrying a handgun in an unauthorized place to just go put the gun up and come back to have a good time.
Ordinarily, it works. In each legislative session, the subcommittee that keeps abreast of such issues sends an inquiry, and each time, Hewitt’s response is that they have no problems with concealed handgun carry.
The video, said Devlin, will show Sampson pulled the weapon out, and though he didn’t point it at the unnamed officer, he was “confrontational.”
It took a lot of coaxing to get him to put the weapon aside and get on the ground, according to his report. Video from the concession stand will show that, as soon as school district officials release it to the police.
“I’m sure the media will want to see it,” said Chief Devlin.
“What’s the officer to do?” Devlin asked. “I’m not going to compromise my life.” He let the statement hang in the air like a long, high punt from deep in friendly territory.
Had Sampson remained calm and obliged his interlocutor by obeying his instructions?
“We wouldn’t be talking now,” said Devlin.
In this upscale suburb, football is obviously king, a national religion of Texas, more than an ordinary game. It is fought with crusading fervor for honor, treasure, prestige and fame, blood, thunder and glory. When the squad takes to the field, it is with flags unfurled, pounding drums, blaring brass, confetti, cheers – the works.
The Midway High School football stadium, home of the Panthers, domimates the skyline over Hewitt Drive near the boundary with Waco’s city limits, its massive concrete abutments and supports as visible as the colosseum of Rome.
The signals are clear. This is no place to fool around and mess with the Panthers. The friendly face of James Devlin, Chief of the Hewitt Police Department, is resolute – a game face set in stone.
He refuses to see this as an action of concealed carry or open carry advocates testing the limits at election time.
“We’ve had concealed carry now for – what – 20 years; we never have these kinds of problems.”
Chief James Devlin