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’.