An employee of an Alabama Walmart was fired after he was punched in the face while trying to apprehend a shoplifter.
On January 4, night manager Don Watson heard the emergency alarm sound in the Walmart he was working at. He ran for the exit, and Roderick Gray, a man he described as a “habitual shoplifter,” fleeing with thousands of dollars of stolen merchandise.
“When I caught up to the individual he turned and grabbed me, struck me in the face and dragged me to the ground,” Watson said, according to IJ Review. “I got loose and was holding him down,” when security arrived to help until police got there.
Twenty-seven days after the incident, Watson was fired from Walmart for “gross misconduct.”
Though it’s Walmart’s policy not to comment on personal matters, they did release a statement on this:
“It is a tough situation anytime we have an associate that does something that unfortunately puts himself in danger. We don’t think there is any amount of stolen merchandise that is worth anyone’s life. Associates are trained to follow certain security measures.”
Watson is trying to appeal Walmart’s decision to fire him. When asked if he would go back if they change their minds, he said, “I would have to. I went from making a decent living, making almost $50,000 a year, to nothing.”
The thief who punched Watson has since been arrested and charged with third degree robbery.