Special Report: Thugs in Uniform

Underscreened, underpaid and undertrained, private security guards are too often victimizing those they are hired to protect

Still on probation for two separate weapon and cocaine possession convictions in 1990, John Padilla, 20, was hired last July by the HSC Security company as a guard at Carle Place High School on New York's Long Island. Now he is accused of firing 16 shots from a 9-mm gun, killing two young men and critically wounding three others as they sat in a parked Cadillac outside the school. HSC, which has since shut its operations, was required by law to submit Padilla's fingerprints to the state within 24 hours. Instead, the company waited more than seven weeks. According to Padilla's...