Video Shows Michigan Pharmacist Shooting Gun at Robbers

He fired at attackers, saving not just himself but two Walgreens co-workers.

ByABC News
May 27, 2011, 3:30 PM

Sept. 10, 2011 -- In Benton Township, Michigan, two armed robbers wearing masks burst into a near-deserted Walgreens at 4:30 a.m. To pharmacist Jeremy Hoven, it was a prescription for trouble. So he filled it with hot lead.

A video, newly released by Hoven's attorneys, shows how events unfolded.

Watch the Video Here

Drawing his own gun, Hoven fired at the attackers and drove them off, saving not just himself but two Walgreens co-workers as well as the pharmacy's valuable prescription drugs.

By way of saying thanks, Walgreens fired him.

Hoven, in an interview with the Benton Township Herald-Palladium, said he had acted out of fear. "The adrenaline was taking over," he said. "You could have probably taken my pulse from my breath, because my heart was beating that much." Only 42 seconds elapsed, start to finish. All the action was captured on surveillance video.

Before firing, Hoven first tried dialing 911. But before he could complete the call, the first of the two robbers had vaulted over a counter and was standing five feet away from him. That's when the pharmacist went for his own gun and opened fire.

The video appears to confirm that Hoven's actions were defensive, and were made only in response to the robbers' attack.

Peter Kosick of St. Joseph, Hoven's attorney, tells ABC News that, in his opinion, Walgreens should have commended his client for bravery. That, too, is the opinion of township police Lt. Delman Lange, who, after reviewing the surveillance video, told the local paper, "If it was me, I would have done the same thing."

Though Hoven was licensed by the state of Michigan to carry a gun, Walgreen discourages its pharmacists from packing pistols. A spokeswoman for the drug chain told ABC News in an email that while Walgreens would not be able to disclose its policies, they were written to protect the safety of customers and employees. "Store employees receive comprehensive training on our robbery procedures and how to react and respond," she wrote. Walgreens' approach is "endorsed by law enforcement, which strongly advises against confrontation of crime suspects. Compromise is safer."

Kosick told ABC News that his client fired carefully and responsibly: "Glenn Beck had a comment last night on his show that Jeremy was firing across the store. Incorrect. The criminal had jumped over the counter and was on the same side of it with Jeremy." He said Hoven fired only to maintain "a safe zone" for himself. The only thing behind the robber, according to Hoven, was a cinderblock wall.

Township police Lt. Delman Lange, after reviewing surveillance video, told the local paper, "If it was me, I would have done the same thing."

Kosick says local residents are solidly behind his client. "I'd say 95 percent are in favor of what he did. It's really outraged people. Not just gun advocates but people on the street. They stop and tell me they'd have done the same thing, only they wouldn't have missed. They're outraged by what Walgreen has done. They're talking boycott, saying they will take their business to CVS or Wal-Mart."

Hoven filed suit against Walgreens for wrongful termination.