Walgreens pharmacist fired for using gun

7:26 AM, Sep 8, 2011   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- A Pharmacist in Benton Harbor is suing Walgreens after he was fired for shooting a concealed weapon during a break in.

Jeremy Hoven was working as an overnight pharmacist at the East Napier Walgreens in Benton Township. On May 8th, two masked men walked in with handguns and took one of the floor managers hostage.

"I feared for my life," he said.

Hoven was carrying a concealed weapon. When the crooks headed back towards the pharmacy in the back of the store, Hoven says one jumped over the counter with a drawn weapon.

And Hoven drew his.

"The gunman repeatedly attempted to fire upon me," he said. "In self defense, I fired my weapon."

Click here to see the complete surveillance video.

Hoven said one of the suspects tried to shoot him but his gun wouldn't discharge. Hoven shot fired several shots in response and the crooks ran off. No one was hurt.

"My employment spanned 5 years and three months," he said. "I enjoyed my job at Walgreens."

One week later, after being praised for staving off the suspects, Hoven was fired. His attorney, Dan Swanson, says a Walgreens District Manager fired Hoven, citing a "non escalation policy."

"As we stand here today, neither Jeremy, nor I have seen that policy," Swanson said.

Walgreens sent a statement to WZZM 13 News, saying employees are trained and expected to comply in crisis situations:

"Our policies in this area are designed to maintain the maximum safety of our customers and employees. Store employees receive comprehensive training on our company's robbery procedures and how to react and respond to a potential robbery situation. In past incidents, employees have told us they've found this training effective. These policies and training programs are endorsed by law enforcement, which strongly advises against confrontation of crime suspects. Compliance is safer than confrontation. Through this practice, we have been able to maintain an exemplary record of safety."

Hoven filed a lawsuit against Walgreens, that has traveled from the Berrien County Circuit Court to the Federal District Court in Grand Rapids.

"Mr. Hoven is challenging Walgreens' right to fire him for exercising his right of self defense," Swanson said.

By Steve Patterson

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