Gas station clerk fired for drawing gun on armed robber

Mike Krumboltz

A clerk at the Shell gas station in Nashua, New Hampshire, was fired after drawing a weapon on an armed robber, WBZ-Boston reports.

The reason for the dismissal: Nouria Energy Corporation, which owns the Shell station where the attempted robbery occurred, has a policy that prohibits employees from carrying firearms.

The clerk, Shannon "Bear" Cothran, told WBZ that he was working the graveyard shift when a man armed with a knife entered the store and threatened his life.

Cothran pulled his own weapon, causing the robber to bid a hasty retreat. He is being sought by police.

Cothran described the altercation to the Nashua Telegraph:

"He had the knife cocked back. It looked like he was going to stab me,” Cothran told The Telegraph. “I took several steps back, produced my sidearm, and informed him it was a bad idea, and he didn’t want to do it, and he left.”

Cothran told WBZ that he knew he was taking a risk with his job by carrying a gun but that he had been concerned over a rash of robberies in the area.

“I knew exactly what I was doing I made a conscious choice to protect my life and put myself in a situation where I would have to find new employment,” he told WBZ. Cothran said two of his managers tried to save his job but were unsuccessful.

Nouria Energy Corp. released a statement on Wednesday:

We specifically train our employees on how to react during a robbery attempt to prevent the situation from escalating. Cashiers are instructed to give the intruder what they ask for in an attempt to resolve the conflict peacefully and as soon as possible.

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.

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.

Nashua Police Lieutenant Denis Linehan told WBZ that Cothran "acted appropriately. He did fear for his life. He was in close proximity to a deadly weapon."

The Nashua Telegraph reports that a demonstration to protest Cothran's firing is scheduled for Saturday.