For stores that sell firearms, there are few things more terrifying for the business than the idea that someone might steal a weapon and use it in the commission of a crime. Employees and managers utilize a number of strategies to do their best to prevent this, yet it still happens from time to time.
Given all the emphasis on making sure firearms don’t fall into the wrong hands, then, it seems odd that a company would penalize an employee for preventing such a tragedy. However, that’s precisely what a Florida Academy Sports store did to one of its employees who risked everything to keep a firearm off the streets; he lost his job, in fact. This man, Dean Crouch, is a hero, but they fired him for stopping a man who threatened to shoot people, based on stunning ‘corporate policy’ decisions.
His act very likely saved lives, but they still got rid of him.
Thirty-two-year-old Dean Crouch heard a commotion at the Academy Sports stores he worked at in Tallahassee on June 29, and investigated. When he went to see the cause for the ruckus, he found employees and Jason White, with a handgun, attempting to make his way out the door with the pistol.
Thinking on his feet, Crouch made a decision; he, along with another employee, tackled White at the store’s exit, preventing him from leaving the store with a handgun bent on who knows what kind of havoc.
According to Crouch’s attorney, Ryan Hobbs, coworkers at the sporting goods store were screaming “stop that man,” and that call galvanized his client into action.
For his good work, Dean Crouch, a manager at the store, was fired. It is unclear, at this time, if they fired the other employee involved in the skirmish.
Stopping “that man” allowed the pair of them to stop White from walking out the front door of the store with a Glock handgun chambered in .40 Smith & Wesson, a stolen backpack with five boxes of ammunition (which means between 125 and 250 rounds of ammunition for the pistol), and two magazines for said Glock handgun.
Local police said that he had stolen two firearms from a pawn shop earlier in the day, and that when they caught up to him he admitted it, and said that he would steal more when he got back out of jail.
According to a local news source, Academy Sports said that they fired him in keeping with their policies, and that they would not comment further on the matter.
Company spokeswoman Elise Hasbrook said that the company looked into the incident, and took actions consistent with corporate policies, addressing the matter with the “local store and all individuals involved.”
It’s understandable, in a way, that the company would have policies designed to handle issues where a manager got into a physical confrontation with a customer.
After all, a confrontation like that would not only look bad for the company, it could also expose them to undue legal risk if the customer was harmed.
However, the fact is that the circumstances are different than the average fight between an overzealous manager and an obnoxious customer who went one step too far in criticizing a store or employee.
White, now remanded to the care of the local constabulary, posed a threat not only to the people in the store, but also to the people in the surrounding area.
He stole two firearms earlier in the day, and he was stealing a handgun with two magazines and five boxes of ammunition. Those are the actions of a man preparing to load up for something, and Crouch could very well be the only reason that there’s not a story from Tallahassee reporting multiple people shot by a deranged man with three stolen firearms.
Frankly, Crouch is a hero.
People generally do not do good things with firearms and ammunition that they steal from sporting goods stores and pawn shops.
Surely, Academy Sports could look at their policy, notice that this is a special case and that in disobeying their policies, the manager of one of their stores likely saved lives, and take a more lenient view of his actions.
Surely, they do not need to remove him from his position because he took actions that portray their business (and its employees) in a positive light.
Hopefully, they will reconsider. If not, there must be dozens of businesses that need a decent man who will do what’s best, even if it puts him at risk. Thanks to all this media attention, it shouldn’t be hard for him to find a new job, indeed, a better job.