Show Organizer Charged With Manslaughter

Earlier this week Hamden, Mass. Superior Court Judge Peter Velis ruled that jurors will be allowed to view video footage of Christopher Bizilj’s accidental shooting death at a 2008 gun show in Westfield, Mass. The eight year old tragically lost control of an Uzi submachine gun while firing at a pumpkin in a designated shooting range. Show organizer Edward Fleury, a former police chief, is charged in the boy’s death. Fleury owns the company that co-sponsored the event. 

It’s something no planner wants to think about: how do you avoid the unthinkable at one of your events? The video of the tragedy will surely hurt the defense’s case, but in general video monitoring is an excellent safety measure. James Leyde of Positive Protection of Nevada is a staunch advocate. “It’s always good, but expensive,” he says. “We do it for most of our coin shows and diamond shows.” Of course, video monitoring is often just the first step to ensuring an event is safe both for exhibitors and attendees.
Leyde cautions that any trade show with sensitive merchandise, be it weapons or valuable electronics, needs well-trained security. “We’ve done a tremendous amount of work in Las Vegas where we’ve seen booth owners get stuff stolen, sometimes from other booth owners.” Everyone at his firm has a law enforcement background, which Leyde sees as critical for being effective first-responders should anything go amiss.
He further recommends having a complete list of who to contact both before and after hours at any trade show where exhibitors engage in product demonstrations or attendees will be involved in hands-on inspections of merchandise, something his security firm does as a matter of course.