Civilians Stand Guard At Armed Forces Center

Armed with military-grade weaponry following shootings in Chattanooga

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“When the government has failed the people, failed our military and not allowed them to protect themselves, it’s time for the citizens to stand in.”

Strong words from Zachary Gallegos who, alongside Dustin Lau, are standing outside the Armed Forces Center in Sioux Falls.

Armed with military-grade firearm, both men have decided that it’s their responsibility to guard the recruitment center.

This comes a week after the deadly shooting in Chattanooga where five service members were shot and killed. That crime is being investigated as an internal act of terrorism.

“The same things that drive our soldiers fighting overseas in 120 degree weather is the same thing that keeps me here,” says Lau. “There’s a need that is not being filled for these gentlemen and that’s what I’m here for.”

For Lau and Gallegos they have no plans to leave outside the building until the government decides to bring in authorized personnel.

“We’re out here until they can get the security that they need,” added Lau.

They’re recommendations included the National Guard or active duty soldiers. No longer how long it takes.

Many state governors have required recruitment centers to boost security in light of the tragedy. However, South Dakota is not one of them.  

The Armed Forces Center declined for an on-camera comment, but they did release a statement that read in part:

“In light of the attack, the army will increase vigilance and review our security measures, particular at stand-alone sites not connected to a military installation.”

Gallegos, who has not served in the US military, believes that it is a civic responsibility to take care of each other.

“As an American citizen it’s every citizen’s responsibility to not only protect yourself, but protect your community and protect others.

A job, they say, will protect those who walk through the doors.