A Walmart security guard is accusing the company of firing him for just doing his job.
The 31-year-old employee from the Commerce City, Colorado location only wants to be identified as Ramon, because he worries that the many shoplifters he's caught throughout the years may retaliate against him. The incident that got Ramon fired happened earlier this month, when another employee warned him about a burglary in progress.
Ramon could see on his security monitor that a man was cracking open a cash register with a hammer. He quickly called the police, and was approaching the suspect while on his cell phone when the man sucker punched him. Ramon put the suspect in a bear hug and pinned him to the ground until police arrived.
During the incident, the 21-year-old suspect admitted to Ramon "I'm schizophrenic, I don't know what I'm going to do." The security guard says that's why he didn't let the suspect up until police arrived and put the alleged burglar in handcuffs.
Ramon had to take three days off work because of his injuries, and his badly swollen eye needed stitches. But when he returned to work days later, he was shocked to learn he had been fired by the store. “That hurt more than getting punched in the face," Ramon said. "It's like getting punched in the face twice."
And when he learned why he had been fired, Ramon was stunned.
The burglary suspect was charged with possession of burglary tools, attempt to commit burglary, and third-degree assault for the sucker punch.
Police say that the man "didn't mean to hurt anyone," and that he only meant to buy a video game for his brother before a schizophrenic episode made him try to rob the store. "I'll take the charge for assaulting him, I know I shouldn't have done that," he reportedly told police.
But Ramon's employers weren't so understanding. They fired the security guard for "gross misconduct" over the way he subdued the suspect. "Ramon could have prevented the incident if he had not approached the suspect with an aggressive manner, tone and identified himself properly," his termination notice reads.
Walmart's official policy for their security guards says that employees should let robbery suspects leave the store, and then call the police to arrest them. But their policies also say that security guards are allowed to use “reasonable force to physically limit or control the movement of a suspect."
Ramon says that the attack and a recent shooting at a nearby Walmart put him on edge, but he believes restraining the suspect was the right thing to do. "All I was trying to do was do my job, the best I could," he told KDVR.
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