BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – A frightening scene for staff and moviegoers at Studio Movie Grill Thursday night.
Staff found a man sleeping inside an empty theater, with a loaded gun in his lap and appearing to be drunk. That man was later identified as Bakersfield Police Officer Douglas Barrier, who was off-duty at the time.
“It’s a very serious thing,” said Sergeant Nathan Mccauley, public information officer with the Bakersfield Police Department. “We want to make sure people are conducting themselves in a professional and very serious matter. That kind of conduct doesn’t sound like it was going on there.”
When staff discovered Barrier, they called the police and as a precaution evacuated the theatre.
Officers arrived and arrested Barrier for public intoxication.
We talked to BPD about off-duty officers carrying their weapons, the department said they support it.
“Off-duty officers are actually encouraged to carry their guns for safety reasons for them and members of the community as well,” said Mccauley. “On and off-duty they have responsibilities where they’re supposed to intervene as a peace officer if necessary.”
But they say it has to be done in a safe, responsible and professional manner.
“If you’re going somewhere where you know you’re going to be consuming large quantities of alcohol, you probably shouldn’t carry your firearm. it’s not safe,” said Mccauley.
The firearm was seized and Officer Barrier was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
“Police officers are not above the law, we’re going to be held accountable for any of our actions,” said Mccauley. “People make mistakes and do things wrong and they’re going to have to face what comes with that.”
We reached out to studio movie grill, left a message but have not heard back as of news time.