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The government was supposed to take care of mentally disabled Marine combat veteran Brian Callan. It didn't.

Bob Callan says he called his brother back within an hour. "He told me they'd talked him into the lease, and he was very apprehensive. He said the salesman had told him he had three days to change his mind. I don't know if he was confused on what they said, but he had the three-day thing clearly in his mind."

Unknown to many, however, the three-day "buyer's remorse" clause that Brian Callan surely was alluding to doesn't apply to buying or leasing automobiles in Arizona, according to W. Knox Ramsey, president of the Arizona Automobile Dealers Association.

"We helped pass a used-car law four years ago that says a consumer has 15 days or 500 miles to undo a deal for a car that turns out to be badly flawed," Ramsey says. "But it would be a chaotic situation in terms of commerce if we had a three-day buyer's remorse clause, believe me."

Brian Callan posed with his new Toyota Tacoma a few hours after he leased it from Bell Road Toyota last August 31.
courtesy of Jerri Glover
Brian Callan posed with his new Toyota Tacoma a few hours after he leased it from Bell Road Toyota last August 31.
Jerri Glover visited her oldest child's grave in Cave Creek on November 10, the day before Veterans' Day.
Jackie Mercandetti
Jerri Glover visited her oldest child's grave in Cave Creek on November 10, the day before Veterans' Day.

Callan drove his new truck home, attached an American flag to the rear passenger window, and called his mother to come by to take a look at it. Late that afternoon, he posed beside it for a picture, though Jerri Glover says he already was wondering aloud if he'd been taken to the cleaners.

That theme continued after Peggy Hutchens showed up at Callan's home. "He started in on it there, and continued throughout the night at dinner and at the game," Hutchens says. "He said it was going to cost him big time at the end of the lease. I said, I'm not so sure this sounds like a good deal. Why don't you try to change it?'"

He did so the following morning. At 9:35 a.m., according to a note on a yellow piece of paper that Callan wrote at his desk, he spoke on the phone to Bell Road Toyota general manager Robert Staup. The note said:

"Argumentative. Refuses to take back or renegotiate lease. States is no '3-day' cooling-off period state law where a person can return a vehicle."

Police reports, however, say Staup told Callan on the phone that he wouldchange the five-year lease deal to a purchase, but he wouldn't renegotiate the previously agreed-upon price for the Tacoma -- $27,772.

As for the lease deal itself, four car sales executives tell New Times that, all things considered, it wasn't outrageously unfair to Callan.

"This customer probably wanted to get into lower monthly payments, and so they stuck him in a lease instead of a buy," one of the executives says. "That means he's going to pay on the back end -- $9,000 in this case -- on top of all those payments if he wants to buy the vehicle for some reason at the end of the term. He probably thought that was the raw end of the deal for him."

Adds another, "Did this guy really think that Bell Road would rip up the paperwork and give him his old car back? He didn't sign the deal at gunpoint, did he?"

But that's just how Brian Callan would try to undo the deal.

At about 11:30, Callan drove into the dealership in his shiny white truck. He parked it, and walked into Bell Road Toyota's used-car building.

He met with sales manager Nathan Smith and sales supervisor Rafael Ung -- the latter had sealed the lease deal the day before. The pair later told police that Callan said he wanted to return the vehicle or, in the alternative, change the lease to a purchase.

But the salesmen admitted they'd told Callan directly that Toyota wasn't legally bound to change a thing. Another salesman, Matthew Duran, told investigators he'd overheard the dialogue.

Duran told police: "[Callan] stated, I want to renegotiate the deal or buy the truck for $19,000.' Duran said [Smith] told the subject, I can't do that. We could work something out.' [Callan] then said, I'm gonna give you one more chance.' [Smith] again told him, I can't do that. I can't do that.'"

Callan then had told the salesmen something akin to, "Okay. I'll do things on my terms," threw down his car keys on a counter, and left the building.

A security camera caught Callan on tape going into the truck and retrieving his shotgun. He discharged the shot into a grass island, then quickly returned to the building, weapon in hand.

Sales manager Smith saw him coming, and picked up the phone to dial 911. That's when Callan walked in, pointed his weapon at Smith, and told him to hang up or he'd shoot.

Callan died less than a minute later.

"My brother was a warrior, a trained killer," says Bob Callan. "He knew the meaning of pulling out a gun. You don't pull out a gun unless you intend to use it. He did it because of the total disrespect he got from those pigs at the dealership, and their total greed. But even in the field of battle, where he was at that time, he did not want to kill those people."

His brother Sean, however, sees it a bit differently: "Yes, he was disrespected, but I don't think he went there with the intention of taking anyone's life, including his own. But he knew he couldn't face those officers -- who were just doing their jobs. I think he died as a result of an incident in which he suddenly didn't see any options."

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