Labor & Employment

Armed Pharmacist Who Foiled Robbery and Was Fired Sues Walgreens

When a would-be armed robber hit a Walgreens in southwestern Michigan early one morning in May, the pharmacist was ready to rumble.

After a masked man vaulted the pharmacy counter at around 4:30 a.m., surveillance footage attached to an Associated Press article shows, Jeremy Hoven drew on him and reportedly fired his own gun, sending the masked man and an apparent accomplice sprinting for the store’s front door.

It appears from the footage that the suspect may also have held a store employee at gunpoint before focusing on the store’s pharmacy counter.

Walgreens fired Hoven after the incident, allegedly because the store has a no-escalation policy, Hoven, 36, says in a federal lawsuit he has filed in Grand Rapids, seeking damages for his claimed wrongful termination. Although he had a concealed-carry permit for the gun, he didn’t tell Walgreens about the weapon and was unaware of any policy against it, according to the AP and the Herald-Palladium.

The store plans to fight the case and disagrees with a number of its allegations, including the reasoning for Hoven’s termination, the AP article says.

A Daily Mail article in May says Hoven told a local newspaper he tried to dial 911, but didn’t have time.

“Within seconds he was over the counter. And I’m looking at the wrong end of a 9-millimeter. He was holding it gangster-style,” Hoven said of the gunman’s sideways grip on the weapon.

Seeking to “create a safe zone for myself,” Hoven then started firing, the article recounts. He said he started carrying a concealed weapon after the store was robbed in 2007 while he was working a night shift and management, he felt, didn’t do enough to improve security afterward.

The Herald-Palladium says Hoven’s suit alleges Walgreens violated his right to bear arms and defend himself.

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