- The Washington Times
Thursday, July 12, 2018

The assistant manager of an Academy Sports store in Florida was fired this week after he tackled a man who allegedly stole a handgun and threatened to shoot people.

Dean Crouch, 32, was managing the store on Mahan Drive in Tallahassee on June 29 when Jason White, 24, asked to look at a .40-caliber Glock pistol from the firearms counter, then proceeded to run toward the front door with it, according to court records obtained by The Tallahassee Democrat.

“My employee yelled, ‘Stop that man!’ And 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,” Mr. Crouchtold a local CBS affiliate. “At the front door is where I stopped him. I tackled him to the ground. We apprehended him and detained him. We secured the firearm.”

Mr. Crouch and another employee recovered the Glock, a stolen backpack, five boxes of ammunition and two magazines for the gun, court records said.

While waiting for police to arrive, Mr. White admitted to stealing the gun and threatened to shoot people with it, court records said.

Mr. White was also accused by police of stealing two handguns from Cash America Pawn on South Adams Street earlier that day.

The National Rifle Association hailed Mr. Crouch as a “hero,” but his attorney, Ryan Hobbs, said he was fired from his job of two years on Tuesday.

“Academy has decided to, instead of treating him like the hero he is, they terminated his employment effective immediately because he put his hands on Mr. White,” Mr. Hobbs said.

“Our world is pretty much turned upside down after this,” Mr. Crouch added. “We had to put our house on the market because of this.”

The NRA said the firing “is insanity. This man is a hero,” said the organization’s Marion Hammer, CBS News reported. “He stopped an initial crime that would have led to other crimes, and he gets fired. How on Earth is that right?”

Academy Sports spokeswoman Elise Hasbrook said she could not comment on specific personnel matters, but said Mr. Crouch’s termination was handled in accordance with the Texas-based company’s policies, The Democrat reported.

“While the incident ended without injury, actions inconsistent with corporate policies were taken,” she said. “We addressed the matter with the local store and individuals involved.”

Mr. Hobbs said his client is considering suing the company for wrongful termination.

Meanwhile, the suspect, Mr. White, now faces three counts of firearm theft, The Democrat reported.

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