Decatur, GA – The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office reserve deputy who risked his life to stop a gunman in a Georgia grocery store on Monday has been called a hero for stopping a potential massacre.
The incident occurred at about 1:10 p.m. on June 14 in the Big Bear supermarket located across from the South DeKalb Mall off Candler Road, WXIA reported.
DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said the argument began when a cashier at the store asked 30-year-old Victor Lee Tucker Jr. to wear a mask.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said Tucker argued with the cashier and then left the store without making a purchase, WXIA reported.
Alan Williams, a witness who was in the checkout line when the shootings occurred, said that Tucker returned right away with a gun.
Williams said Tucker struck the cashier with his gun and then shot her, WXIA reported.
“There was some confrontation, argument – I’m not sure exactly what – in reference to the wearing of masks, at which time the subject pulled out a weapon and shot the cashier,” Sheriff Maddox told reporters, WTVD reported.
A 30-year veteran of the DeKalb County Police Department, who volunteers as a DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Unit deputy, was working a part-time security job at the store when the shooting started.
Officials said DeKalb County Sheriff’s Reserve Deputy Danny Jordan, who retired as a major from the police department in December of 2020, ran toward the gunfire in the store, WXIA reported.
Deputy Jordan, 54, was wounded by gunfire but was able to shoot back and hit the gunman.
GBI said that Tucker was trying to crawl out of the store when more law enforcement officers began arriving on the scene, WXIA reported.
The deputy sustained two gunshot wounds and was transported to Atlanta Medical Center.
The wounded cashier and the gunman were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital.
Sheriff Maddox said the cashier – who has since been identified as 41-year-old Laquitta Willis – was pronounced dead at the hospital, WXIA reported.
Friends said Willis had worked at the Big Bear for more than 10 years and was very popular with customers.
Family of beloved cashier Laquitta Willis, talks exclusively with @cbs46 at 11p. Willis was killed by a customer who refused to wear his mask inside a DeKalb County supermarket. “She was just trying to keep safe and follow the policy. Then this happened.” pic.twitter.com/K5SM8nWJQ5
— Ciara Cummings (@CiaraCBS46) June 16, 2021
DeKalb County Police Major Tony Hughes, who worked with Deputy Jordan at the police department for 20 years before he retired, issued heavy praise for the wounded hero, WXIA reported.
“Deputy Jordan is what we would call a policeman’s policeman,” Maj. Hughes explained.
He said Deputy Jordan had gone to work part-time at the supermarket in the neighborhood he’s from immediately after he retired because he wanted to continue to serve his community, WXIA reported.
“There’s no other way to describe him other than a hero,” Major Hughes said. “His actions yesterday potentially saved the lives of so many people.”
He said that Deputy Hughes is a positive person who always encouraged and supported his fellow officers and his family, WXIA reported.
“He’s a family man, he’s a very loving guy, and he’s a very, very funny guy, I often joke with him and tell him that he could take up a second career as a standup comedian,” Maj. Hughes described his friend.
Officials have not released any information on Tucker’s condition, but the gunman remained in the hospital on Wednesday.