The assistant manager of a convenience store who pulled a gun and shot at an armed robber Saturday has been fired.
Johnny Jarriel Jr. was the manager on duty last Saturday morning when an armed robber approached him the office of the Circle K store at 5785 West Stewart’s Mill Road. Store officials declined comment Thursday, but the separation notice given to Jarriel lists "Possession/Use of a weapon on company property" as the reason for his termination.
Jarriel said he has a state permit to carry a concealed weapon. He said that before he used the gun to shoot three times at a crazed gunman who was robbing the store, his manager knew he carried the gun at work and never said a word. Now that he had to use it to try to protect himself as well as another employee and two customers, he finds himself unemployed after more than three years on the job at Circle K.
"I don't want anyone saying I think I'm some kind of hero or something, but think about it," Jarriel said. "I had a glassy-eyed man talking crazy sneak up on me, pepper spray me and threaten to kill me and everyone in the store. All I did was try to save my life and the lives of the three other people who were in the store. He had already said he would kill me and I had no idea what he would do if we got out into the store. He had already shown he was willing to do anything."
Jarriel said he knew of the company's "vague" rule about guns, but in an area where robberies have happened before, he felt that he had to exercise his constitutional right. As he recapped those terrifying three minutes that began at 9:05 Saturday morning, he said he wouldn't have done anything different even if he could.
"I was working in the office when he walked into the back office and caught me by surprise," Jarriel said. "I had a cashier out front and there were two other customers in the store. Before I even knew he was there he grabbed me from behind and sprayed a whole can of pepper spray in my eyes. It was incredible how bad it burned.
"He grabbed me by the collar and slammed me on the ground. He pulled out a large silver automatic weapon and put it to my head and said 'give me the (expletive) money you (expletive). I will kill you.' I said OK, let's go out front and get it."
That's when Jarriel said he saw an opening. As the suspect, described as a black male of average size and build, turned to walk out front, he pulled a gun he had in his front pants pocket.
"He was about 10 feet ahead of me and I raised the gun and just started shooting," Jarriel said. "Everything was blurry because I still had pepper spray in my eyes. That's when he panicked and ran out of the store."
GeorgiaCarry.Org is a group that has fought to make sure the Second Amendment right to bear arms is protected. Co-founder James Camp said Thursday this scenario is one that is all too familiar in Georgia and one that will be repeated until the legislature moves to change existing laws.
"It is an unfortunate situation where someone is pushed in a terrifying scenario to have to defend themselves only to lose their job for doing so," Camp said. "But as of now, Georgia law provides no teeth for an employee who loses his job for using a gun to defend himself."
Camp said that while a legal battle would be tough, he urges Circle K customers to tell management how they feel.
"They can vote with their pocketbook," Camp said. "If they feel he had a right to carry a gun and defend himself, they should let the company know, spend their money elsewhere and tell them that this man deserves to have his job back."