A Florida shop manager who bravely tackled a man who had stolen a gun from his store has been fired for his actions.
When Dean Crouch, 32, heard a commotion at the Florida Academy Sports store in Tallahassee, he immediately sprang into action and prevented the thief, Jason White, from making off with a .40-caliber pistol he’d obtained from the firearms counter.
Despite the suspect openly threatening to shoot people as he fled, the only reward Crouch received for his heroics was the termination of his employment at the store.
“Academy has decided to, instead of treating him like the hero he is, they terminated his employment effective immediately because he put his hands on Mr. White,” Crouch’s attorney Ryan Hobbs said, as reported by the Tallahassee Democrat.
Prior to the incident, White had stolen two handguns from Cash America Pawn on South Adams Street, according to Tallahassee police. When he asked to look at the firearm at the Florida Academy store, an employee handed it to him, and he ran for the exit.
Crouch witnessed the incident and, along with another employee, tackled White to the ground, recovering the gun, a stolen backpack, five boxes of ammunition and two magazines for the Glock.
“My employee yelled, ‘Stop that man!”‘ Dean Crouch said of the June 29 incident, as reported by CBS News. “I turned and looked and saw Mr. White running from the gun bar toward the front of the store with a firearm in his hand. At the front door is where I stopped him. I tackled him to the ground. We apprehended him and detained him. We secured the firearm.”
White told police that he and his family were being threatened by an unknown individual and admitted to stealing the gun so he could “kill him.”
Man Arrested for Stealing Three Firearms from Two Local BusinessesThe Tallahassee Police Department has made an arrest…
“He repeatedly said ‘I stole and I admit to it’ and ‘I will steal again when I get out of jail,’” officers wrote in their report.
Crouch’s attorney said that his client is considering a wrongful termination lawsuit, and claims that the employee saved multiple lives through his courageous actions.
“This is not something that happens for Mr. Crouch in his everyday life,” Hobbs said. “I think he was thinking there is a man running out of the store with a gun in his hand with his coworkers following from the firearm area screaming ‘Stop that man.’ Something had to be done and he was the one that was going to do it.”
In a particularly diplomatic statement, Academy Sports spokeswoman Elise Hasbrook said that the situation had been dealt with in accordance with company policy. She did not comment on Crouch’s particular case.
“While the incident ended without injury, actions inconsistent with corporate policies were taken,” she said. “We addressed the matter with the local store and individuals involved.”
As a result of the bizarre firing, Crouch, who has a wife and two child children, has found himself in a difficult financial situation.
“Our world is pretty much turned upside down after this,” he said. “We had to put our house on the market because of this.”
Hearing of his predicament, several other businesses have offered Crouch a job.
If anyone knows Dean Crouch- the Academy sports manager that was fired after tackling a guy who stole a gun and threatened to shoot people – have him message us. Happy to try and get him some shifts to help him support his family in the transition.
— Madison Social (@MadisonSocial) July 11, 2018
While he really appreciates the gesture, Crouch said he’d ultimately prefer to get his old job back.
“I loved my job there,” he said.
As a result of this seemingly unfair dismissal, Hobbs has urged the store to reconsider its policy:
“My instincts tell me they are concerned more about people like Mr. White suing them for being stopped in the course of a theft than they are about rewarding or acknowledging in a positive manner that Mr. Crouch may have saved lives,” he said.
(H/T: Tallahassee Democrat)