A cashier was shot dead inside a Georgia supermarket after a man pulled out his gun following an argument over the store's mask policy. Also, an off-duty deputy was seriously wounded who intervened during the argument, authorities said.
The shooting took place at the Big Bear grocery store in DeKalb County, Georgia on Monday. Victor Lee Tucker Jr., 30, of Palmetto, allegedly entered the store and started arguing with staff about wearing a Covid-19 face mask. A female worker, who was at the cash counter, asked him to put on a mask but Tucker refused and left the store before coming back and shooting the cashier.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Tucker after being asked to put on the face mask started arguing with the cashier. However, soon after that he left the store without making a purchase and returned almost immediately with a handgun and allegedly shot the cashier dead.
According to the authorities, Tucker shot the woman in the head. The cashier, who has not yet been identified, was later pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital, GBI said in a press release.
A retired deputy, a part-time reservist with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office, who was working security at the store, saw the cashier and Tucker arguing and tried to intervene. The moment he saw Tucker pulling out his gun, he jumped in, Dekalb sheriff's office spokeswoman Cynthia Williams told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A witness, identified as Alan Williams, said that after Tucker struck the cashier with a gun, the deputy jumped in and exchanged gunfire with the suspect. In the process, the deputy also got shot. Tucker too suffered a bullet injury, fired from the deputy's gun.
Both the deputy and Tucker were later taken to He was also taken to Grady Memorial Hospital where they were treated. However, before that Tucker tried to flee the scene. Tucker was arrested by responding deputies as he tried to crawl out of the front door of the supermarket, GBI said.
The off-duty officer was listed in stable condition, but the condition of Tucker is not known. The cashier was officially pronounced dead at Grady hospital. GBI said it is conducting an independent investigation into the shooting.
Although this is one of the rare incidents of a customer shooting dead a store employee over argument related to wearing face mask inside a store, hundreds of incidents of fights and brawls have been reported over the past few months over maintaining Covid-19 guidelines including wearing masks in crowded places likes store and inside flights.
That said, it is not known what words were exactly exchanged between the victim and Tucker that led him to shoot her dead.