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 . . .