JACKSONVILLE, Fl. – Luke Gentry wasn’t expecting to get shot by police when he ventured out in search of a Halloween costume on Tuesday but that’s exactly what happened after the twenty-eight year-old Florida native visited Chester’s Party Supply Store in downtown Jacksonville.
“I’d just bought the costume and was coming out of the store, bag in hand, when a cruiser rolled up,” Gentry told Action News JAX, a local Fox affiliate. “The cop ordered me to drop my gun and I said ‘What gun?’ and he shot me. I couldn’t believe it.” Gentry, who is white, is one of three people who have been gunned down by police after purchasing a costume from Chester’s Party Supply Store in the last week.
According to the store’s owner, Chester Dudley, the three victims share one thing in common: they all purchased one of the most sought-after Halloween costumes of the year. Simply called the ‘Unarmed Black Man,’ the costume consists of khaki style pants, a blue hoodie, and black face paint and has outsold other top-selling outfits including Harley Quinn and Harambe the Gorilla. “It’s an extremely popular item,” Dudley told Action News before adding that the costume had been “regretfully” pulled from the store’s inventory as of Friday morning.
While Gentry is expected to make a full recovery, Blake O’Connell, another frequent patron of Chester’s Party Supply Store, isn’t so lucky. The twenty-three year-old FSU graduate was shot nineteen times by police mere seconds after leaving a Halloween office party Wednesday evening. Authorities later said O’Connell – who was wearing an ‘Unarmed Black Man’ costume when he was killed – fit the description of an armed robbery suspect. “Officers acted professionally and exercised restraint during what they perceived to be a very dangerous situation,” a department spokesperson said on Wednesday.
In yet another case of mistaken identity, police on Thursday arrested nineteen year-old Logan Brown while he was attempting to hang Halloween decorations on the front porch of his parents’ home in suburban Jacksonville. Brown, who was also in costume at the time, was tasered three times and sustained multiple lacerations from a police dog before being taken into custody. Officers reportedly mistook a bright orange glue gun which Brown was using to affix the decorations for a semi-automatic weapon.