Concerns Over Vigilante Justice Surround Weekend Protests

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A Carlsbad man went on social media to recruit a “civilian gun squad” to protect the city’s businesses from looters during this weekend’s protests.  It was not what many people protesting against social injustice wanted to hear.

Police weren’t thrilled, either.

People who saw the post contacted both Carlsbad and Oceanside Police with their concerns, fearing the posts would incite violence.  According to an Oceanside Police spokesman, Carlsbad officers asked the man to delete his Facebook post, but he did not.

Carlsbad Police did not respond to NBC 7’s request for information but did post a tweet.

Businesses across San Diego County began boarding-up their windows as a precaution after seeing images from La Mesa and downtown San Diego that showed looters breaking into stores. 

The owner of the Pushkin Russian Restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter created a different kind of barrier to keep his business safe. Ike Gazaryan called his friends and they have been standing guard outside his restaurant every night as a deterrent to looters.

“We had to stand our ground. We had to protect our neighbors. We had to protect ourselves,” he told NBC7.

Inside his restaurant, Gazaryan has guns and says his men will use them if looters try to come inside.

Is he a vigilante? 

“No, I am not. I’m just an average American here to protect my business and support peaceful protest.”

Gazaryan, whose chef is a black man, said he walked with protesters in San Diego Sunday and he supports their cause. 

“Black lives matter, all lives matter,” he said, but said some “shady individuals” were taking advantage of the situation to steal from businesses.

“I moved here for a better life,” said Gazaryan who became an American citizen after fleeing unrest in his homeland.  “When I see these things happening it just brings tears to my eyes.”

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