Florida sporting goods manager says he tackled man trying to steal gun. Now, he’s been fired
A former assistant manager of a Florida sporting goods store said he was fired after tackling a man accused of trying to steal a gun.
Tallahassee police said suspect Jason White went, on June 29, into an Academy Sports and Outdoors store and asked to see a .40-caliber handgun. He is accused of grabbing the gun and, then, running for the exit.
Dean Crouch had just finished helping another customer when he heard a commotion.
“All of the sudden, I heard ‘Stop that man’ and I turned to look at the gun bar,” he told CNN. “Mr. White was running away from the gun bar with a gun in his hand.”
Crouch said he started chasing the suspect, who he said knocked over another customer while trying to escape.
“Once he got to the front door, I tackled him to the ground,” Crouch said.
Another employee secured the gun, which was unloaded and had a trigger lock, and Crouch detained him in an office until police arrived.
Police said White had also tried to steal a backpack and ammunition from the store. A search of his vehicle turned up one of two guns allegedly stolen from a pawn shop earlier that same day, they said.
White has been charged with three counts of grand theft of a firearm. He was released on $5,000 bond and ordered to have a mental health screening.
Crouch said his manager told him to take a few days off to “cool down” but, when he called in on July 2, he learned he was suspended indefinitely while the company investigated.
Crouch said his manager and the district manager fired him Tuesday.
“They put me on speaker and told me that I was terminated effective immediately and that I needed to bring my keys back to the store,” he said.
Crouch’s attorney, Ryan Hobbs, told CNN his client was fired for violating the company’s policy against touching customers.
“It’s the death of common sense,” Hobbs said.
They have not filed a lawsuit, and the lawyer said they are focusing on finding Crouch another job so he can support his family.
“It’s definitely turned my whole world upside down,” Crouch said. “I had to put my house on the market.”
Crouch said he has gotten several job offers since the firing and is considering his options.
CNN has reached out to Academy Sports for comment.
A spokeswoman for the company told WCTV it was “grateful that everyone is safe after this incident and for the quick actions of the Tallahassee police.”
“We have policies in place to protect our team members and customers during a robbery,” Elise Hasbrook said in a statement emailed to WCTV. “While this incident ended without injuries, actions inconsistent with our corporate policies were taken.”