Armed Man Assaults Clerk, Hops Over Counter With Gun, Fires At Man . . . Walgreen Denies Armed Robbery In Progress

We have previously followed employees fired or denied benefits for resisting robberies, even when coming to the aid of customers. In the case of Jeremy Hoven, the pharmacist says he was fired by Walgreens after he foiled a late-night robbery in Michigan. He has now filed a wrongful termination lawsuit and Walgreens’ answer to the complaint has an interesting reported twist.

Walgreens

(Reuters) – A pharmacist fired by the nation’s largest drugstore chain after he foiled a late-night armed robbery of his Michigan store by shooting at the gunmen has sued Walgreens for wrongful termination.

Hoven says two masked gunmen entered the store in Benton Harbor, Michigan, before dawn and he tried to call 911. However, one of the gunmen — holding another Walgreens co-worker at gunpoint — jumped over the pharmacy counter, reportedly pointed his weapon at Hoven. Hoven say that he saw the man begin “jerking the gun’s trigger.” Armed with a licensed concealed gun, Hoven drew and fired shots at the robbers who fled.

He says that, a week later, he was fired for violating Walgreens’ “non-escalation policy” as well as a policy barring employees from carrying weapons while they work.

Hoven’s counsel has pointed to the below video of the incident showing an armed man dragging an employee through the store and then hopping over the pharmacy counter.

While it is common for lawyers to deny every fact in a complaint, you are not supposed to deny facts known to be true. The notes to Rule 11 state in part:

Denials of factual contentions involve somewhat different considerations. Often, of course, a denial is premised upon the existence of evidence contradicting the alleged fact. At other times a denial is permissible because, after an appropriate investigation, a party has no information concerning the matter or, indeed, has a reasonable basis for doubting the credibility of the only evidence relevant to the matter. A party should not deny an allegation it knows to be true; but it is not required, simply because it lacks contradictory evidence, to admit an allegation that it believes is not true.

It is not clear if this was a general denial or a specific denial in the answer.

Here is the video of the denied robbery:

Walgreens also denies that Hoven’s actions were the reason for his termination.

Source: Reuters

32 thoughts on “Armed Man Assaults Clerk, Hops Over Counter With Gun, Fires At Man . . . Walgreen Denies Armed Robbery In Progress

  1. The year was 1981. Connie Ray Evans went into a convenience store near the campus of Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. Arun Pahwah was the store clerk. Evans made Pahway kneel down and beg for his life. It is on the store security camera video. While Arun Pahwah was on his knees begging for his life, Connie Ray Evans pointed his pistol at Pahwah’s head and executed him.

    The State of Mississippi put Evans to death in the gas chamber at Parchman Penitentiary in 1987.

    I have seen that tape in the evidence file. Connie Ray Evans was one of the most cold-blooded psychopaths I have ever met. That security tape is graphic proof of Mike Spindell’s observation above that you must never allow yourself to be put in a truly vulnerable position or taken hostage during an armed robbery.

    http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F2/809/239/385653/

    http://www.nytimes.com/1987/07/08/us/texas-and-mississippi-executions-are-carried-out-after-pleas-fail.html?scp=1&sq=Connie+Ray+Evans+executed&st=nyt

  2. Wouldn’t it be nice if Walgreens admitted their 24 hour stores are at risk for robberies and hired armed, trained security guards so the pharmacist didn’t have to violate corporate policy to protect his own life?

    I don’t see how they can deny this clear case of attempted robbery, but I am sure they have every right to fire the pharmacist based on their policy.

    The situation could have taken a turn for the worse…it has happened before.

    http://foxnewsinsider.com/2011/05/31/conviction-controversy-appeal-underway-in-life-sentence-of-pharmacist-found-guilty-of-murder/

  3. MadAsHell,

    Tell the rest of the story….The first shot was justified….I will agree with that…The remaining 5 bullets pumped into him as the criminal laid wounded on the floor were not….

    (CBS/KWTV/AP) – OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City pharmacist now faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after being found guilty of murder for the death of a 16-year-old who tried to rob his store.

    Confronted by two holdup men in May 2009, Ersland pulled out a gun, shot one of them in the head and chased the other away. The drugstore’s security camera then filmed Ersland as he went behind the counter, got another gun, and pumped five more bullets into the wounded Antwun Parker as he lay on the floor.

    Judge Ray Elliott refused to lift the gag order so the prosecution, the defense, and the jury are not allowed to comment on the verdict. But we do know the jury had asked to see the surveillance video of the robbery and shooting one more time before they went up to deliberate.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20066839-504083.

    The would be robber survived….another thing, the pharmacist is a Vet….Lt. C….

  4. I was simply attempting to point out that, in these situations, cool heads do not always prevail and lives can be ruined in an instant. I agree that pumping bullets into the wounded man was unjustified. If the man was no longer a threat, the police could have taken him into custody and that story would have had a different ending.

  5. problem is a wound guy is not a disabled guy. It does not take much strength to pull a trigger. You better make sure he is dead. The police made a very large mistake years ago when they switched to 9mm hand guns. The round is not very good at ‘stopping’ a person, not nearly as good as their old.38/.357. It might take a few rounds to complete the task if you chose a weak tool. But the point is if you have shot him you probably should go ahead and finish the job and you better understand exactly what that means before you start carrying.

  6. You know Frankly,

    I think if the first shot had killed the would be robber…The out come would have been totally different. I think because he retrieved (playing 13th Juror) the second weapon and proceeded to pump 5 more rounds in him….that takes it to a little different level….

    I think the controlling case for Police Officers to escape liability for Murder is they may not use Deadly force to apprehend a fleeing felon….and they may use Deadly force to save or defend the life of another or their own….

    I think the key case is TN v Garner…But it may be changed a little since another case called Harris and the Officers use of a vehicle to apprehend a fleeing felon….causing death or injury….that I recall was ruled in 07’…..

  7. “While Arun Pahwah was on his knees begging for his life, Connie Ray Evans pointed his pistol at Pahwah’s head and executed him.”

    OS,

    Thank you, good example of what I’m thinking. There have been so many instances throughout the years in publicized stories where once a person cedes control they’re dead. Begging for one’s life with someone
    who is probably either psychopathic, or dumb, gets you nowhere most often. I’ve always been bemused by crime movies where someone holds a gun on a person as they dig their own grave. If you can be 99% certain that someone will kill you and you’ve got a potentially lethal weapon in your hand, why not go down swinging?

  8. Begging for one’s life with someone who is probably either psychopathic, or dumb, gets you nowhere most often. -Mike Spindell

    …why not go down swinging? -Mike Spindell

    ———————————

    Excellent “take-away” points…

  9. @Junctionshamus

    Please don’t misunderstand. I think it’s a foolish rule designed to reduce corporate liability at the expense of employee safety. I’m just don’t think he has much of a case given the pro-business stance of the courts post Bush.

    I’d like to preanswer your example with:
    DO: Shoot to kill the armed robber while following proper gun safety procedures.
    DO NOT: “Do him execution style” if he’s lying on the ground bleeding out afterwards

    I’m a strong supporter of guns in the hands of well-trained law abiding citizens. This guy should be getting a “thank you” from the company and the police. Sadly I’m cynical enough to know that won’t happen.

  10. @MASkeptic – My brain and trigger finger would say disable, disarm. My heart would say, “Take a break before reloading.”

    Looks like I might not have to cap your robber; you sound like a DIY-guy.

    You discern many truths in an otherwise imperfect world. Damned if you do (liability if your employee misses) and damned if you don’t (stress claims to dead customers); no winners in an arm-chair scenario, even fewer when the event takes place. The best scenario if you will, is to have such a policy, but issue your administrative verdict after reviewing the totality of the circumstances.

  11. @Junctionshamus
    >The best scenario if you will, is to have such a policy, but issue your administrative verdict after reviewing the totality of the circumstances.

    This should be the unspoken rider on every law and policy. The problem is that you don’t know who would be doing the reviewing.

  12. “If the man was no longer a threat, the police could have taken him into custody and that story would have had a different ending.”

    Like he’d sue shooter?

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