WATCH: Off-Duty Officer Pulls Gun on Man Mistakenly Suspected of Stealing Mentos

One minute, Jose Arreola was buying a pack of Mentos at an Orange County service station.

The next minute, he was at the business end of a gun drawn by an off-duty Buena Park police officer who thought Arreola had stolen the $1.19 roll of mints.

The 49-year-old printer from Bellflower says he was both scared and angry that the officer had pulled a gun March 16 on someone he wrongly suspected of stealing candy.

“It’s been a month and I still can’t shake it,” Arreola said. “It was traumatic, the whole incident. (And) I grew up in Santa Ana. I’ve been shot at before.”

Buena Park Sgt. Mike Lovchik declined to comment on the incident, saying an internal investigation is underway.

Police shootings have become a hot-button issue in cities across the United States, where 370 people have been shot and killed by officers so far this year, according to a database compiled by the Washington Post. The data show that the slain are typically armed.

The shootings have amplified the question, when is it appropriate for a police officer to draw a gun?

Joe Domanick, associate director of the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College, said the Buena Park officer was “way out of policy, even for Orange County.”

“It’s astounding there would be a police officer who would think it’s OK to do it,” said Domanick, author of the book “Blue: The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing.” “(It’s) entirely opposite of what’s going on in police departments. You pull a gun as a last resort.”

He continued: “It shows the officer has been poorly trained or not trained at all or he’s totally unsuited to be a police officer.”

Arreola said he and his wife, Jacqueline, were driving to a club about 10 p.m. on a Friday when they pulled into a Chevron station on Beach Boulevard in Buena Park to use the ATM. Jacqueline Arreola told her husband to buy her some Mentos.

Arreola, who wears his hair short but has a long goatee, can be seen in a store security video placing the candy on the counter and handing the clerk a $20 bill from the $60 he got from the ATM.

While waiting for his change, Arreola pockets the candy. Immediately, a man in black shorts standing behind him in line pulls a gun from the pocket of his black hoody, announces he is a police officer and tells Arreola to put the Mentos back on the counter.

Arreola throws his hands up and protests that he paid for the mints. The officer can be heard telling Arreola to take his change and leave, minus the Mentos. Finally, the officer asks the cashier if Arreola paid for the mints.

Yes, says the cashier.

“Are you sure?” the officer asks.

Again, the cashier says yes.

“My apologies,” the officer tells a visibly shaken Arreola.

Sorry isn’t enough, Arreola said in an interview. He has retained an attorney and requested financial damages from the Buena Park department.

“Are you seriously pulling a gun out over a pack of Mentos?” he asks.