McDonald's Worker Fired After Shooting At Robber Says He Was Protecting Friend

Published: Dec. 30, 2005 at 10:30 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 15, 2006 at 4:02 PM EST
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By Jeff Tang

(NEW ALBANY, Ind.) -- Restaurant workers in southern Indiana say they are concerned by a string robberies in the area in recent days. But how far can they go to protect themselves? Last week an employee at the McDonald's on State Street in New Albany was fired after he pulled a gun on a robber. WAVE 3's Jeff Tang investigates.

The state of Indiana has a concealed carry law but McDonald's and many other restaurants have specific policies forbidding their employees from carrying a gun while at work.

Diana Curtsinger says being robbed is always a concern. "Oh definitely -- it can be scary. You always wonder what could happen because you hear about so many robberies," she said.

Curtsinger says she used to keep a gun behind the counter at the Little Chef Diner, but that was 22 years ago.

She says she was more "worried back then; not anymore. I made a lot of friends here. Closer family than real family sometimes."

Clifton Brown didn't have that kind of family at the McDonald's in New Albany where he worked. But he did have a friend worth standing up for.

"I was gonna be out late by myself just me and him," Brown said.

While closing up the store on Christmas Eve, Brown and his co-worker were outside alone doing maintenance work. Then they realized they were no longer alone.

"I saw the gun in his back," Brown recalled. "I knew it was a lady when she spoke. She said, 'if you come near him I'm gonna shoot him."

Brown says the woman robbed his friend and the cash register, then made a run for it. That's when Brown pulled out his gun and yelled to her.

"She was runnin'' and turned, waving the hand with the gun, so I fired at her twice," Brown said.

The suspect got away on foot. Police aren't sure whether or not the suspect was hit.

The robber may have gotten away, but Brown didn't get away with violating McDonald's no-gun policy. He was fired.

While he admits he didn't follow the rules, Brown says he chose instead to follow his instinct. "If anyone was gonna get hurt, I was gonna let it not be us."

As for Curtsinger, she says her defense doesn't sit behind the counter anymore because most of her customers are armed.

"Most of my customers do pack," she said with a laugh. "I've never been scared in this place. I know that I've got a lot of friends, and if anything comes down to it my customers would help me out."

Brown says he does have a permit to carry a concealed deadly weapon, as well as the updated paperwork.

We tried to contact Ron Vanover, the owner of the McDonald's where Brown worked, but he hadn't returned our calls by the time this story aired.

Online Reporter: Jeff Tang

Online Producer: Michael Dever