Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kroger Shooting Raising A Number Of Issues

A shooting of an attempted robber at a Kroger store on Indianapolis' northwest side by a store manager is raising a lot of questions. The deceased 26-year-old attempted robber, Jeremy Atkinson, had a 2009 conviction for armed robbery and carrying a handgun without a license, and he had an active outstanding warrant for his arrest for violating the terms of his probation. Atkinson received only a four-year sentence for the armed robbery conviction according to the Star at his sentencing in December, 2009 and served less than two years after his sentencing before he was released from prison in February to participate in a work release program. This begs the question of why a serious violent offender is being released from prison so soon after his conviction.

News reports indicate that Atkinson entered the Kroger store yesterday evening and forced a female employee of the Kroger store into a back office while poking something hard in her back that she believed was a gun. A store manager entered the office and fired several shots at Atkinson, striking him in the face. One 911 caller says she heard six shots, while another caller said she heard at least three shots.  He later died after he was transported to an area hospital. There has been no confirmation that Atkinson did in fact have a weapon on him when he was shot by the store's manager. One would have thought police would have confirmed by this point if he had a weapon on him at the time of the shooting.  Fox 59 News is reporting that Kroger's employee manual prohibits employees from carrying a firearm or other concealed weapon on the premises, except for licensed and authorized security personnel.

News reports say some Kroger workers fear the employee who shot Atkinson will be fired, causing supporters of the store manager to launch a Facebook site expressing support for him. It is unclear whether the employee had a license to carry a concealed handgun. Many larger, chain retail stores train their employees not to forcibly resist robbers, including chasing after shoplifters who flee the store with stolen merchandise, for liability reasons. Marion Co. Prosecutor Terry Curry and IMPD have indicated that they do not currently have plans to file charges against the store manager who shot Atkinson.

UPDATE: WTHR's Steve Jefferson reported tonight that the store manager, 24-year-old Elijah Elliott of Crawfordsville, had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The Facebook site urging Kroger not to fire Elliott can be accessed here.

WRTV's Norm Cox has a story discussing the conflict between Kroger's policy against its employees carrying firearms in the workplace for personal protection, and Indiana's conceal, carry permit law.

Indiana law allows people to use deadly force to defend themselves, but employers can still fire workers for having that deadly force with them in the workplace.
Indiana law states that "a person is justified in using reasonable force to protect himself or a third person from what he believes is necessary to stop or prevent serious bodily injury or the commission of a forcible felony."
But most companies have stringent rules against having a weapon in the workplace. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce fought hard to prevent the Legislature from creating an exemption to allow guns in locked cars in company parking lots, but the law passed.
The gun rights battle continues to rage. While many people said they support what the worker did, some of those same people don't think guns should be allowed in the workplace.
Kroger spokesman John Elliott said Tuesday he wouldn't discuss his company's policy because of the ongoing investigation . . .


Anonymous said...

They should give him a metal.

Pointman said...

I applaud the young man. Not only did he have a firearm (number one rule of a gun fight) but had enough control of his faculties to put it into effective use.

Most people I know who carry a firearm against company policy full expect to lose their jobs should they ever have to use the firearm. Should this young man lose his job I suspect a number of job offers will present from those less afraid of their insurance companies, corp lawyers and outsourced HR policy makers..

Now if I only knew what caliber I could swing by the store and drop off a box....

Concerned Taxpayer said...

"some of those same people don't think guns should be allowed in the workplace."
Well...except for the criminal's guns.

Vox Populi said...

It's great that this situation ended with the death of only the would-be-robber, but this guy violated his company policy and should pay the price by losing his job. He's damaged his company by dragging it into the gun-rights controversy and has made shoppers feel unsafe there.

Most companies have a "no-heroes" policy for a reason. This situation could have ended very badly for the random Kroger customer who caught a stray, but thankfully this time it didn't. Money is replaceable, lives aren't.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

But V P would feel just fine if the robber had killed the female clerk, the manager, and robbed the store.
In a liberal's mind, that's OK. But to defend yourself or someone else is just terrible!
Why, it's so bad it made shoppers feel unsafe there!!!!! They weren't afraid of being robbed, raped, mugged, or killed by a robber. NO-O-O-O-O...they were afraid a legally licensed person would STOP A ROBBERY!
What a great world V P lives in!

M Theory said...

I am a very loyal Kroger shopper. I will not feel safe in their stores if I know that guns are banned for employees (especially managers).

If they announce a no-gun policy and fire that store manager, I will never shop at Kroger again, even though it is my favorite grocery store.

Guns in the hands of trained, licensed gun owners make me feel safe.

Establishments who are vocally anti-gun make me feel unsafe and I am not going to risk my life to shop at Kroger, no matter how much I love the store.

neil k. said...

Good job! What could've been a simple robbery was instead the death of a young man! Medals all 'round!