What would you do if you were a pharmacist that worked overnight at a 24 hour store that had been robbed in the past? Would you take measures to protect yourself and your fellow employees?
Jeremy Hoven was faced with that question. He worked as a pharmacist at a 24 hour Walgreens in Benton Township, Michigan. The small town of only 16,000 residents is best known for being the headquarters of Whirlpool. Although a small town along the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan, Benton Township is no stranger to crime either.
After the Walgreens pharmacy had been robbed at gunpoint several years earlier, Hoven decided to start carrying his concealed gun with him at work on the graveyard shift. He had a legally obtained permit to carry a concealed weapon and he was glad he did.
At 4:30am on May 8, the Wednesday before Mother’s Day, Hoven was sorting out pills when two masked armed robbers entered the store. They quickly grabbed one of the managers and began forcing him through the store at gun point. When one of the robbers saw Hoven behind the pharmacy counter as he was trying to dial 9-1-1, he quickly jumped the counter and tried shooting Hoven. Three times the armed thief pulled his trigger and three times the gun failed to shoot, fortunately for Hoven.
That’s when Hoven knew his life was in danger as well as that of the store manager, so he pulled out his concealed gun and fired at the thieves. It scared them into running out of the store as fast as they could. The entire incident lasted only 42 seconds.
Hoven described how he felt, saying:
“The adrenaline was taking over. You could have probably taken my pulse from my breath, because my heart was beating that much.”
The entire robbery was caught on the various store surveillance videos. After reviewing the video, Lt. Delman Lange of the township police told the local paper:
“If it was me, I would have done the same thing.”
You would think that Hoven would receive a commendation for his bravery and in saving the manager and himself from being shot and possibly killed. Instead, Walgreens fired Hoven from his $150,000 a year job.
Why was he fired? According to Walgreens, they have a strict non-escalation policy on what to do in the case of a robbery and they have a company policy forbidding employees from carrying weapons on the job. Hoven claims that he was never informed of the policies and has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Walgreen’s.
The store and media personnel also claimed that Hoven fired his gun irresponsibly which may have endangered others in the store. However, his attorney, Peter Kosick clarified the misconception saying that when Hoven fired his gun, the robber was on the same side of the pharmacy counter and that the only thing behind him was a cinder block wall. He told the media:
“Glenn Beck had a comment last night on his show that Jeremy was firing across the store. Incorrect. The criminal had jumped over the counter and was on the same side of it with Jeremy.”
“My client is asserting that he was fired in violation of Michigan public policy. Specifically that citizens of Michigan have a right to defend themselves, in that Walgreens violated his right of self-defense by firing him.”
At a press conference held after the filing of the lawsuit, Hoven stated:
“Seconds later I saw another manager with a gunman. The gunman saw me and I saw him. I feared for my life. The gunman repeatedly attempted to fire upon me. In self-defense I fired my weapon.”
“At no time during my employment with Walgreens was I advised of, given a copy of or discussed with management a non-escalation policy.”
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This is so typical of so many businesses today. They would rather allow their employees to be harmed and possibly killed rather than allow them to defend themselves. My oldest daughter worked as a certified nursing assistant on the telemetry care unit of a local hospital. One day while helping another aide, they were attacked by the patient. He grabbed my daughter by the back of the neck, had her bent over and swinging her from side to side threatening to kill her. After the attack was over, hospital management told her that if she had tried to fight back and hit the patient that she would have been instantly fired. In other words, she wasn’t allowed to defend her own life. She sustained a serious neck injury that ended her medical career anyway.
I applaud Hoven for carrying his concealed weapon with him. If I were him, I would be asking Walgreens executives if their intent was to have him just stand there and get shot to death without trying to defend himself? From the sound of their non-escalation policy, that’s what they want all Walgreens employees to do.
Have you checked with your employer to see what their policies are about being able to defend yourself from harm on the job? I know that my employer fully endorses me to have a loaded gun with me at all times since they stand in firm support of the Second Amendment and the constitutional right to defend yourself. However, more and more companies are taking those rights away from their employees. They would rather see you dead or wounded rather than allow you to defend yourself.