Jennifer Wertz worked at Circle K for five years in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Until last week, that is, when she shot an alleged armed robber who had pointed a gun at her. While most Americans would applaud her action, Circle K promptly suspended her. After she talked to the media, Circle K fired her. Since then, a Go Fund Me page has collected big bucks to help Jennifer and her family.
Company policy at Circle K, like many chains, says employees should never resist robbers. However, Wertz didn’t have ballistic glass between her and 23-year-old Ferron Mendez, who had barged into her store with a gun.
Knowing she had a disabled mother and her three children at home who all loved her and counted on her, she pulled her own gun and shot the (alleged) would-be robber in the chest. She told reporters that she had only minutes before retrieved her gun from her car after hearing of another armed robbery nearby. Her action might well have saved her life.
People from all walks of life, hearing of Circle K’s termination of a long-time employee for merely defending herself, have responded to a Go Fund Me page. Ms. Wertz’s mother set it up and as of this writing, it stands at $71,500.
In our original story, I wrote:
Ms. Wertz says she’s looking for a new job now. Surely some business owner in or near Albuquerque would appreciate a clerk with her fortitude and gumption, someone who won’t roll over for two-bit hoodlums without a fight.
Sure enough. The next day, KOB4 reported how job offers have come in for Ms. Wertz:
Job opportunities, support come to clerk who shot suspected robber
…While police may not be pressing charges, she now faces the challenge of finding a new job.
However, there could be a change in fortune for Wertz. She is already receiving multiple job offers and overwhelming support from the community.
Wertz said she plans to take some time off to deal with the emotional trauma of what she’s been through, before deciding what to do next, but she said Calibers Gun Shop and Shooting Range has already contacted her.
“I would love to set up an interview and see if it’s a good fit for me and good fit for them,” she said.
I contacted Calibers Gun Shop and Shooting Range and left a voicemail message for the corporate COO for comment. As of this writing it remains as yet returned. Kudos for Calibers for reaching out to the Ms. Wertz.
Young Jennifer showed further courage telling the local TV station KOB4:
Wertz hopes her experience gives others the courage to protect themselves and take a stand against crime in Albuquerque.
“They don’t have to be nonchalant and a sitting duck and bow down to these criminals, because that’s the problem,” she said. “We’ve bowed down so many times they’re now running our city. We need to stand up and show them that we are willing to protect ourselves and protect our home and protect what matters.”
While anyone can talk a good game, it does take courage to stand up against a criminal attack. I think we all share relief that this mom survived the encounter uninjured. Furthermore, the fact she will land on her feet after the incident helps reaffirm our belief in the good people of the world.