Armed employee shoots woman who was pistol-whipping coworker

Armed employee shoots woman who was pistol-whipping coworker
AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer

It was a sleepy Tuesday morning at a Rent-a-Center in Alton, Illinois, at least until a woman armed with a gun walked inside. According to authorities, the woman was looking to confront a relative who worked at the store despite the fact that an active order of protection prohibited her from having contact with the relative or wandering on to the premises.


As Second Amendment and crime victims’ advocate Nikki Goeser has eloquently pointed out, orders of protection are pieces of paper, not suits of armor, and when the subject of one chooses to violate the law the consequences generally come far after the fact. Thankfully in this case there was an immediate ramification when the woman pulled out a firearm and assaulted her relative; not from law enforcement or the courts, but from an armed coworker at the store.

According to witnesses at the scene, shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday a woman entered Rent-A-Center at 2831 Homer Adams Parkway and struck a female manager in the face with a gun. Witnesses said the assistant manager of the store then shot the woman, who left the store in a vehicle that contained a child.

Police later located the vehicle near the intersection of Claire and Seminary streets in Alton.

… On Tuesday afternoon, Alton Police Chief Jarrett Ford released information about the incident.

According to Ford, at about 10:12 a.m. Tuesday Alton Police received a 911 call from a woman indicating she had just been shot. A separate 911 call was also received from a Rent-A-Center employee indicating a shooting had just taken place inside the business.

Alton Police responded to the business and to the woman who had been shot and was in a vehicle a close proximity to Rent-A-Center, Ford said.. An initial investigation revealed the woman who had been shot came to the business to confront a relative employed by Rent-A-Center, despite an active order of protection prohibiting contact with the relative or being at the Rent-A-Center site.

Ford said the woman engaged in a verbal conflict with her relative which escalated into a physical altercation. A separate Rent-A-Center employee subsequently discharged a firearm which struck the woman, Ford said, adding the woman left the store, entered a vehicle and drove a short distance before calling 911.



The individual who was beaten with the pistol suffered injuries severe enough to require hospitalization as well, though it sounds like they’re going to recover.

At last report police haven’t said if the armed citizen who defended their coworker will face any charges, but based on the account by the Alton police chief it seems pretty clear that they were acting in defense of another. I took a look at the Rent-a-Center code of conduct and was unable to find any policy that would prevent or preclude employees from being armed on the job, so hopefully the armed citizen won’t be fired for potentially saving the life of the store manager who was assaulted either.

If anything, I’d say this employee should be praised by the company for stopping the attack on their co-worker. The active order of protection didn’t prevent this assault from taking place, and were it not for the swift action of the armed citizen the battery of the store manager could easily have ended up as a homicide. Because that assistant manager had a gun of their own, the assailant is in the hospital and will soon be in police custody (at least for a short period of time) while the manager is still alive and (mostly) well. Sounds like Employee of the Year material to me, as well as another reminder that we don’t get to pick and choose when we’re the victim of a violent crime… but we do have a choice about how we’ll protect and defend ourselves and those around us.



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