What Did Pharmacist Jeremy Hoven Do Wrong?

Say Uncle says “just say no” to Walgreens for saying “say what?” to pharmacist Jeremy Hoven. The drug store chain fired Mr. Hoven after he defended himself during an armed robbery. Hoven fired at the robbers, Walgreens fired Hoven and Say Uncle fired Walgreens. It’s easy to depict Mr. Hoven as an aggrieved gun rights hero. According to heraldpalladium.com, he warned Walgreens about the security threat, jumped all through the necessary hoops to get a concealed carry permit and only used his weapon in self-defense. More specifically, Hoven said “he knows of no specific Walgreens policy barring employees from carrying lawfully concealed weapons at work.” Which doesn’t mean there isn’t one. And there’s Hoven’s first mistake: not knowing whether or not he was allowed to carry at work. Here are three more . . .

1. He forgot to STFU

As TTAG’s Aaron Jossie pointed out, it’s a really great idea to STFU following a Defensive Gun Use (DGU). I realize that press coverage of his case could “shame” Walgreens into restoring Mr. Hoven’s employment or write him [and his lawyer] a big fat check. But if his wrongful termination suit does go to court—or if Walgreens sues Mr. Hoven for one thing or another—anything the pharmacist says to the press can and will be used against him in a court of law.

If Hoven wanted to “tell it like is was,” he should have released a carefully-worded statement—and nothing more. In the UK, a person is held legally liable if he or she “fails to mention any fact which he later relies upon and which in the circumstances at the time the accused could reasonably be expected to mention.” In the U.S., not. In the press, never.

2. He failed to seek cover/concealment

Hoven said his first hint something was wrong was seeing a manager run into a storeroom on the building’s west side. Seconds later he saw a man brandishing a handgun, guiding the second manager around the shelf at the northeast corner.

“The first thing I tried to do was dial 911 but I couldn’t get it done,” Hoven said. “Within seconds he was over the counter. And I’m looking at the wrong end of a 9-millimeter (gun). He was holding it gangster-style” – sideways.

Dialing 911 is a critical part of any DGU, but it is not necessarily the first thing you should do. By the time the cops arrive, an attack’s probably going to be done and dusted. RUN! HIDE! Then draw your gun/dial 911/both.

From this description, it appears Hoven had at least a few seconds before he was staring at the business end of a nine mil. Hoven wasted precious time in a fruitless effort to call the cavalry. He could have paid for his misplaced priorities with his life.

3. He missed

The robber had jumped over the counter, leaving the manager in the aisle. The robber came within a few feet of Hoven.

Hoven said the only thing behind the attacker was a cinder block wall. Thus he pulled his gun and fired three or four shots.

“I was creating a safe zone for myself,” he said.

The attacker tried to fire back, but his gun either malfunctioned or the safety had been left on, Hoven said.

WTF is a “safe zone”? Suppressing fire is for the military. In a DGU, when you shoot your weapon, you shoot to stop the threat. Double tap. Center mass baby. Make sure you don’t miss. And don’t forget Brother Ralph’s sage advice: the reason you shoot someone is to give yourself time to retreat. In other words, move, shoot, move, leave.

I wasn’t there. I’ve never been there. What the hell do I know? Point taken. Hoven did what he could and survived. He won.

But don’t get to assuming that this was a “clean shoot.” In my journalistic experience, there’s no such thing. Nor is it always true that the big guy (i.e. Walgreens) is the bad guy. They are superior to Mr. Hoven in at least one regard. They ain’t sayin’ nothin’.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

35 Responses to What Did Pharmacist Jeremy Hoven Do Wrong?

  1. avatarBlake says:

    I worked for a brief period of time for a well known convenience store chain. In the employee manual, it stated, clearly, that bringing weapons to work was discouraged, but not prohibited. It was also the first minimum wage job I’ve had that came with a $50,000 life insurance policy as a benefit.

    These days, most jobs have written policies about bringing weapons to work. I find it hard to believe Walgreen’s doesn’t have their weapons policy clearly spelled out in their employee manual.

  2. avatarJack says:

    Incredible. Keep up the good work Jeremy!

    • avatarMark Shean says:

      I was watching Fox news today when an interesting/disturbing story came on concerning an employee of Walgreen’s, or I should say ex employee. The ex employee is Mr. J. Hoven. Mr. Hoven was thrust into a very scary position when two criminals attempted to rob and murder people in the Walgreen store where he was a pharmacist.

      Walgreen’s fired Mr. Hoven for defending his own life and the lives of others. Walgreen’s claimed Mr. Hoven did not follow co. policy pertaining to just being a good little victim, as it turns out the video shows the criminal trying to gun down Mr. Hoven prior to Mr. Hoven responding and shooting back with his legal licensed handgun. The criminals gun malfunctioned…….thank God.

      According to this story, Walgreen’s refuses to produce their so-called policy on employees and how they are ‘trained’ to respond to a robbery. Why is it that you will not produce this policy for Mr. Hoven’s attorney? Is it because it does not exist?

      Whether or not such a policy exists is really not very relevant to this story, Mr. Hoven’s a hero, is an American citizen, has a God given right to self defense, backed up also by the Second Amendment. No company supersedes either. Whom ever wrote such an ass backward policy endangering employees lives at Walgreen’s is a completely clueless moron, hidden within the safety of corporate headquarters.

      Rest assured I will not darken the doorway of another Walgreen’s until you wake up and put the lives of your employees before your ‘bottom line’, and I will do my best through my blog to spread the word. Change your foolish/dangerous policy and allow employees whom are legally licensed to carry a handgun, do so at work, without fear of being helplessly murdered due to asinine policy makers/lawyers at Walgreen’s.

      Walgreen’s has been in the news in the not to distant past for firing others who refused to be good little victims, this is a very bad company policy, (if it really exists), very criminal friendly, endangering all of the employees. Lets not go there, until Walgreen’s publicly change their attitude toward their employees. Every retail company should smarten up on this issue, and if they did robbery in these stores would go way down and the chance of survival would go up for employees.

  3. avatarRonH says:

    He definitely won. I read the article and I didn’t see any criminal charges being filed against him. No wrongful-death suits from the perp’s family. No potential guilt for having injured/killed another human being. No injury.

    If the perp’s gun had worked he would have been fired-upon, which is way, way worse than merely being fired. Get your lawyer to change that to “left voluntarily” and get a written reference on your objective job performance and look for another position.

  4. avatarJohn Fritz says:

    I can not understand why people won’t keep their mouths shut when they get their ass in a sling over something. The only people that will help you is your wife or your family (maybe, mine wouldn’t). Everyone else, your employer, LE (especially law enforcement), lawyers (not yours) all will benefit from you saying something stupid or incriminating. They will mislead and obfuscate all things to their benefit. You will suffer. It happens this way 99.9% of the time. No one is your friend when you are in trouble. Don’t speak.

    • avatarDaniel Zimmerman says:

      Everyone wants to be a celeb. They want their 15 minutes. A reporter called or he saw the camera and lights, felt flattered and started yakking. That’s a good way to seriously hurt yourself in a situation like this.

  5. avatarPaige says:

    I would just like to say that the whole “he failed to seek cover” is BS. I work for WAG and know FOR A FACT that there was NO WHERE he could have gone to seek cover or hide.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      How about exits?

      • avatarJody Young says:

        I agree. I work in a Walgreens pharmacy and have been robbed. Next time you stop by, look for our exits. Every pharmacy has 2 – the main door and one that leads to the backroom that must be locked at all times per our security policies and is usually blocked on either the pharmacy side, the back room side, or both. There is no place to hide inside the pharmacy.

      • avatarfourthrowe says:

        You sir are a coward and should be ashamed. Are you really suggesting that if armed, you would exit and leave your friends, coworkers, and customers to thier fates?

        • avatarWagrx says:

          I’m a walgreens pharmacist. I read our company policy about this and YES, what they want is you to leave everything and look for cover. As simple as that. Hero? Not here. That’s for movies. Confront the robbers? Are you crazy?! -with a calm voice tell him what you are going to do, whatever they want give it to him- that’s our beloved policy.

  6. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    These people need more range time because they always seem to miss their target. I’ve been watching all the “24″ episodes recently (I have all the seasons on DVD) and Jack Bauer rarely misses, even when he’s up against machine guns and RPG’s etc.

    • I love that you mentioned Jack Bauer, he’s my favorite. The difference between you and me, Joe, is my fantasies about Jack Bauer remain in the realm of entertainment. Yours are part of your mental training and those bad vibes you keep putting out into the universe.

      The only thing I missed in this wonderful post of Robert’s was a stronger condemnation of Uncle’s call for a boycott of Wallgreens. I think that’s what I read between the lines, but I thought it could have been made clearer.

  7. avatarme says:

    Of course Walgreens has a position against concealed carry on their premises.

    If Jeremy Hoven had asked about it, he would have been told “no,” marked down on management’s shit list as a “gun nut,” and fired a lot sooner, unless the constant harassment from management caused him to quit instead.

    My own rule is that I never ask a question like that if I don’t already know the answer. Do I CCW at work? None of your damn business. Speaking hypothetically, would I expect to be fired if I should happen to have to draw down at work? Yes, of course, immediately. Law? What law? What rights?

  8. avatarPT says:

    I already sent Walgreen’s corporate a note saying I will never write a prescription to be filled at one of their pharmacies, and I will discourage all of my patients from taking their prescriptions there as well. We’ll see what their response will be.

    • avatarRalph says:

      I can tell you what Walgreen’s response will be right now:

      Did you get that?

    • avatarFMacleide says:

      Thank you, Dr. I have withdrawn all my Rx (and all other) business from Walgreens

    • avatarm says:

      How did you get through med school without having to take English 101?

      • avatarCorey says:

        Why, because of the apostrophy in Walgreens? You had to attack and couldn’t find anything but a little black line before the s, huh?

  9. avatarSA says:

    Typical media, journalist…
    the above timeline/story is not accurate and out of context.
    Request the video tape from the store. Hoven not only saved his own life but others.
    Hoven is a hero and if had not fired, his and other lives would of been lost. Thank goodnees for the CWP and the bravery to use it.

  10. avatarHomobangbangamus says:

    The bottom line is this. The company (you choose which to put here)and more importantly their lawyers, have decided that all of their employees are expendable, compared to the potential losses due to a wrongful death suit, or other litigation.

    It is acceptable to them to let you and all co-workers be robbed, assaulted, kidnapped raped, and murdered just to protect the company from suit. This also extends to any customers within the affected areas at the time of occurrence.

    They truly do value their employees and customers though. They tell you that every chance they get. Just not enough to help you protect yourself from people who would harm you or kill you. There could be a financial loss and they just don’t value you quite that much…

  11. avatarmichael says:

    The idea that these companies are concerned about “safety” should be put to rest. They are concerned about liability, especially should an employee shoot a bystander, or even the bad guy. Then, some low-life attorney is always ready to file a civil suit. One wonders how badly the perp was shot, or if he was shot at all?

  12. avatarjk says:

    I carry everywhere I go. At home, at work, at church…everywhere. Hoven did the right thing here and to hell with Walgreens. I’d rather lose a job than lose my life. Some may think I’m paraniod but I have never cared what others think about how I live my life. If someone would like to have a reasoned discussion about my choices, I can do that. If not, screw ‘em.

  13. avatarBob H says:

    I have to admit, I carry at work. If my boss ever stops in and discovers that, I will be fired. The company has a strict no weapons policy in place because the insurance companies require it. It’s not that my company is worried about the liability, it is that insurance companies won’t write a policy for a multi-state corporation unless it has a no weapons policy. Particularly when the insurance co. is based in an unfree state or unfree city (sneezing: Philadelphia!) in a free state.

  14. avatarDiamondback says:

    I ask all gun rights supporters to join me in boycotting Walgreens. My family has been getting their prescriptions filled there for years but that will now stop. We’ll also not be picking up that milk, bread, film, movie rental or anything else.

    Be sure to let them know too!

    It’s not much but it’s what I can do.

    Diamondback

  15. avatarRay Van Hook says:

    I would encourage all to contact Gregory D, Wasson, CEO of Walgreens and let him know that you will be ceasing all business with Walgreens immediately. I have been using their services for several years; however, that all changed today. The only thing these people understand is their profit margin. Lets show them that their ill-conceived decisions carry with them expensive consequences! Rest assured I will also spread the word to all of my friends, relatives and business associates and can only assume that they will feel the same sickness in their stomachs when they think of their company and therefore be compelled to take their business elsewhere. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Do Something!

  16. avatarabba dadda says:

    I just sent an email to walgreens informing them that my family will boycott their stores until I hear in the news that Jeremy Hoven has been rehired, and with back-pay. You should do the same… Google: “Walgreens Contact Us” Or, call Customer Service at 1-877-250-5823.

  17. avatardani ilginis says:

    My spouse works for WAG and in the 10 yrs he has NEVER EVER EVER been issued an HR handbook, neither have any of the other employees. Funny I worked for a med size bank and had one. WAG no. They seem to wing HR issues when they arise. GO Jeremy!!!!! Stick it to Walgreens

  18. avatarJake DeShong says:

    I’d rather be tried by 12, than carried by 6.

    • avatarPatriot says:

      What about the others in the area that could have been hit by “friendly” gun fire? Don’t they have a right to shop without worrying that an employee may take things into their own hands and open fire? What about the Co. policy of no weapons? The Co. policy of no resistance to robbery, whether it be cash, merchandise or drugs? They are insured for robbery and theft, why would they want a shoot out in their stores? How can so many intelligent people possibly think it’s ok for an employee to carry a weapon, where do you think the term “going postal” came from? What if your wife, mother, son, grandfather, etc had been injured or killed? Would you still be blaming Walgreens? I can not understand how the people of this great country of ours have stopped taking personal responsibility for their actions. Let’s blame it on someone, anyone, but not take ownership of our own actions. Oh, by the way, I fully support the right to bare arms, I do and will continue to do so where permitted and legally allowed to. I just don’t think the work place is the place that you should carry your weapon.

  19. avatarcactus02 says:

    Jeremy Hoven had to know that this is the policy. He also knows that it is better to have no job than no life. He also knows that every bullet comes with a law suit.He should be happy to get out out of this with only a lost job. If this sounds harsh remember , as I tell my child” Life is not fair.” By the way I would get a CCW permit if I didn’t live in the Peoples Republic of Illinois and I fully support the right of self defence and Mr. Hovens actions.

  20. avatarcactus02 says:

    What some good sharp lawyers should do is get an expert to write an opinion justifing the arming of clerks , send a copy of this finding to corporate HQ and if there is ever a massacre in a Walgreens use that as a basis for a lawsuit.

  21. avatarJimmy Mac says:

    Harsh, intractable, with total disregard for employee safety, and a total bonehead in public relations. Oh, and an annual CEO compensation of over $8 million!

  22. avatarAllan Wolf says:

    I was wondering how one could write to Mr.Jeremy Hoven, would like to know how he is doing etc. (i use to go to this Walgreens)

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