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Employee who tackled man trying to steal gun from store fired for violating company policy

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) - An Academy Sports assistant manager is being hailed as a hero by everyone but his own company. 

The 32-year-old assistant manager tackled a man stealing a firearm, but the manager was fired because a company policy prohibits touching customers.

In late June, 24-year-old Jason White asked to see a .40 caliber handgun at Academy Sports. 

Once it was in his hand, he bolted for the door. 

Assistant Manager Dean Crouch was nearby.

"My employee yelled, 'stop that man.' And I turned and looked and saw saw Mr. White running from the gun bar toward the front of the store with a firearm in his hand,” said Crouch. "At the front door is where I stopped him. I tackled him to the ground. We apprehended him, um, and detained him. We secured the firearm.”

White had stolen two other guns earlier in the day. 

Ammunition was found in his car. 

He was charged with three felonies, released on $5,000 bond and required to undergo mental health counseling. 

He admitted to police he wanted to kill people. 

Crouch violated company policy when he tacked White.

The first thing the company did was suspend Dean for a week. 

Then they fired him. 

They didn’t do it in person, but on a conference call.

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

The NRA calls the firing just plain crazy.

“This is insanity. This man is a hero,” said former NRA President Marion Hammer. "He stopped an initial crime that would have led to other crimes, and he gets fired. How on earth is that right?”

Dean has gotten several job offers. 

He’s also emailed the company asking them to reconsider.

“I loved my job there, yes I did,” Crouch said.

In a statement, Academy Sports spokesperson Elise Hasbrook said, "While this incident ended without injuries, actions inconsistent with our corporate policies were taken. Although we don't comment on specific personnel issues or share company policies, we can confirm that we've addressed the matter with the local store team and the individuals involved." 


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