A manager of a Tallahassee Academy Sports was fired recently after tackling and detaining a would-be gun thief.
Former manager Dean Crouch recalled the incident in a conversation with news channel WCTV.
“My employee yelled stop that man,” Crouch said. “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, um, and detained him. We secured the firearm.”
Police would arrive and arrest the alleged thief, later identified as Jason White. Apparently Mr. White had also tried to steal a firearm earlier that day from a local pawn shop.
As for Crouch, Academy Sports initially suspended him. Then, a week later, they fired him.
“We are grateful that everyone is safe after this incident and for the quick actions of the Tallahassee Police,” Academy Sports spokeswoman Elise Hasbrook said in a statement to WCTV. “We have policies in place to protect our team members and customers during a robbery. While this incident ended without injuries, actions inconsistent with our corporate policies were taken.”
Crouch, who has had to put his house up for sale, politely asked for his job back. However, Academy Sports refused, once again citing its policy.
“I loved my job there,” Crouch said. “I knew that if he would have gotten away with another stolen firearm that it was something really bad could have happened in our community and that’s why I felt like I had to stop him.”
The National Rifle Association weighed in on the matter, calling it “insanity.”
“This is insanity. This man is a hero,” said NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer. “He stopped an initial crime that would have led to other crimes, and he gets fired. How on earth is that right?”
As for Mr. White, well, he was released from jail after making bond on July 6 as part of a “supervised mental health pre-trial release.” This despite the fact that White told an officer that “I will steal again when I get out of jail,” and he would shoot someone and that police would see him on the evening news. “Just you wait and see,” said White, according to the police report.
White has been ordered to stay away from Academy Sports and the pawn shop. Time will tell if he actually obeys the court order.
If there is a silver-lining for Crouch it’s that word of his heroics have spread throughout the community. Several businesses have offered him a job to help him get back on his feet.