Company Fires Employee For Fending Off Armed Robber with Gun

Leah Barkoukis

12/5/2012 7:57:00 PM - Leah Barkoukis

When an armed robber entered a Virginia AutoZone store demanding that the manager unlock the store’s safe, employee and Air Force veteran Devin McClean snuck out of the store to grab his legally-owned gun from his vehicle. When he returned with his weapon, he was able to scare the robber away, thereby saving his manager’s life and the company $2,000. How was McClean rewarded for carrying out such a heroic act? Because he violated company policy by bringing a personal weapon into the store-- he was fired. The Blaze has more:

But although the store’s manager was grateful for his employee’s bravery, McClean was fired two days later — right before Thanksgiving.

“It’s pretty much getting slapped in the face doing something that you feel was right everybody else around you feels you were right,” says McClean.

Other than to reiterate the company’s zero tolerance policy on weapons inside stores, AutoZone representatives refuse to comment on McClean’s firing.

And being laid off couldn’t have come at a worse time for McClean: He’s about to be a father.

“We’re having a little boy,” he said. “I remember when the guy came in with that gun. My initial thought was I want to make it home to my family. I want to have the opportunity to meet my son and for my son to meet his dad. And for someone to come in and shove a gun in your face?”

The former AutoZone employee explains that his decision to go back into the store and rescue his co-workers was informed by lessons he learned in the U.S. Air Force.

“Never leave a man behind,” he said. “I’m not going to leave my brother in a room with a guy with a gun — that’s threatening his life.”

“If I can save somebody’s life, I put that way above a store policy,” he adds.

Apparently AutoZone has a zero-tolerance policy for heroes, too.  McClean could have just as easily left his manager to fend for himself but he didn’t. He should be rewarded for what he did, not fired. Far too many people perceive there to be only one gun culture in America and AutoZone’s policy reflects as much. There are two, however, as Katie discussed in her column today--both of which happened to be present in this situation. It’s time companies’ policies begin to recognize the distinction. Rather than trying to control the criminal gun culture, they ought to empower and reward the gun culture McClean’s story represents.