SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – Questions are being raised about why a convicted felon was allowed to work as a security guard downtown in the months leading up to a young woman’s murder.
The company Melvin Rowland worked for, Black Diamond Security, is now being investigated by the state for “unlicensed activity.” On Thursday, officials confirmed the business was given a “Cease and Desist” order.
“The Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing can confirm that there is an active investigation into the unlicensed activity by Black Diamond Security Group,” said Jennifer Bolton, a Public Information Officer with Utah Department of Commerce.
Black Diamond Security Group released a statement Thursday afternoon.
Everyone at Black Diamond Security Group is saddened to hear about the loss of Lauren and our hearts go out to the McCluskey family at this difficult time. While we did not know Lauren personally, from what we have learned, she was an intelligent, driven and hardworking young woman.
Black Diamond Security Group’s brief relationship with Shawn Fields (which is how we knew him), ended over a month ago. The matter is currently under review.
BDSG is registered as an unarmed security company.
No BDSG employee is permitted to carry firearms/weapons while working nor does BDSG supply any firearms/weapons to its employees.
Mr. Fields was never known by BSDG to carry a firearm/weapon, or permitted to do by BDSG. Again, we want to express our deepest condolences to the McCluskey family for the loss of their wonderful daughter.
BDSG will continue to investigate this matter. BDSG will make no further statement concerning this tragic incident.
News4Utah spoke with security experts to learn more about licensing. They say since Black Diamond appears to be unlicensed with the state, they wouldn’t have had to run background checks on Rowland.
“It’s horrifying. this guy shouldn’t even be in the public, he should be in jail,” said Michael Gunn, with Metro Security.
“This individual was a convicted sexual predator. And he had special access to the community. And that gives me nightmares,” added Gunn.
Black Diamond Security was hired by a downtown bar to offer security.
A spokesperson for the bar says they asked Black Diamond to fire Rowland a couple of weeks ago, but they wouldn’t elaborate to News4Utah on the reasons.
“As far as the relationship with Black Diamond Security, that was severed the morning that we heard the tragic news and news came out that the security officer they had hired in good faith should not have been qualified to work as a security officer,” said Joel Kittrell, an attorney and spokesperson for the bar.
News4Utah also spoke to private investigator Rob Joseph about the matter.
“I have a great deal of concern when I hear something like that,” said Joseph.
“When somebody with that kind of history can be put in that kind of position of trust — working around potentially vulnerable women in a bar or a night club,” he added.
Black Diamond didn’t return a voicemail as of Wednesday night requesting comment.