A Tulsa, Oklahoma Walgreens employee with a concealed carry permit, drew his weapon and fatally shot an armed customer after the two engaged in an argument over photographs that led the customer to first pull out his handgun. Tulsa police identified the deceased man as 52 year old William Hurley. They noted to the Associated Press that a second Walgreens employee and a second customer were also struck by gunfire, but both are expected to survive.
The altercation reportedly started when the Walgreens employee attempted to verify that Hurley was the owner of photographs that had been left at Walgreens for more than a year. Security video reportedly shows Hurley pull out a handgun and jump over the counter at the store before grabbing the photos from the employee. At the same time, other employees were trying to call the police.
Hurley then looked as though he was going to leave with the photographs, but for some reason returned back into the store and headed back toward the clerk.
Tulsa police spokeswoman Jeanne Pierce stated: "(Hurley) then came back over the counter, and a clerk who was 28 years old, who had a concealed-carry license and was armed, pulled his own weapon and shot the deceased."
The employee who shot Hurley did not sustain any injuries and was not arrested. Oklahoma is one of more than 30 states that has a "stand your ground" provision in the law that allows people to use this type of deadly force inside a place of business against anyone who enters a location "unlawfully or forcefully".
A Tulsa police spokeswoman said that the district attorney still needs to decide whether not to charge the clerk and noted that he wasn’t arrested to begin with because he was "legally armed" and that the evidence supported a "self defense type of situation".
Walgreens told the Associated Press they were cooperating with the investigation but did not answer questions about company policy on armed employees.
In 2011, Walgreens fired a pharmacist at a store in Michigan after he drew and fired his gun at thieves. Despite the fact that he legally possessed the weapon, the company said his gun use "violated company policy". Perhaps next time Walgreens would like armed assailants to do the decision-making?
Regardless, today is probably a good day to pick up any photos you've had developed at Walgreens and have forgotten about.