(CBS/AP) NASHUA, N.H. - A New Hampshire gas station clerk who thwarted an attempted robbery by pulling out a handgun was fired because company policy prohibits staff from carrying firearms.
Shannon "Bear" Cothran told the Telegraph of Nashua he was working at a Shell station in Nashua early Monday when a man walked into the store threatening him with a knife. Police confirmed that the would-be robber fled after the clerk pulled out a gun.
The incident was caught on surveillance video.
Cothran told CBS Boston he had a gun because there had been numerous robberies in Nashua targeting convenience stores like the one where he worked, and that it was just a matter of time until it happened to him.
Cothran, who had a permit to carry his gun, said he then filed a report with Nouria Energy Corp., which owns the station, and was fired hours later even though the store manager and a district manager lobbied to save his job.
Nouria said in a statement Wednesday that it instructs its cashiers to give thieves what they ask for during a robbery attempt to resolve the conflict peacefully and quickly.
"Make no mistake: We care about the personal well-being of employees like Mr. Cothran, whose years of service are truly appreciated - not about the money in the cash register. So, we are especially grateful that this situation was resolved without injury," the statement said. "We do respect the constitutional right to bear arms. However, we believe the best way to keep our employees and customers safe is to prohibit weapons in the workplace."
The company said its policies are similar to others in the industry and consistent with the advice offered by police.
CBS Boston reports Nashua Police Lt. Denis Linehan said that while he wants to be sure clerks have proper training before arming themselves, he believes Cothran was within his rights."The clerk acted appropriately. He did fear for his life...he was in close proximity to a deadline weapon," Linehan said.
Cothran told CBS Boston, "I would rather find a new job than either be in a hospital bed or in a coffin."
The clerk had reportedly been working at the gas station for 10 years.