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Surveillance video shows fired Walmart workers wrestle gun from shoplifter



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LAYTON — Four Walmart employees took down an armed shoplifter last January, but the retail giant fired the workers for doing what they thought was right. KSL News now has the surveillance video showing exactly what happened.

It took repeated government records requests — four of them — to obtain the video from Layton City. The former Walmart employees involved in the altercation saw the video for the first time Thursday on KSL News.

Video of the Jan. 13 incident begins with the employees leading Trent Allen Longton into a security office. They said they saw him stuff a notepad computer under his clothes, and the video shows him take it out and set it on the desk.

But not long after he pulled out the laptop, Longton went for a gun in his pocket and made a move for the door.


He looked right at me and said, ‘This gun is cocked. Come on guys, just let me go. I don't want to do this. I don't want to hurt anybody. Don't make me do this.

–Shawn Ray, former Walmart employee


"Time stopped. I didn't know what to do," said Gabe Stewart, one of the Walmart employees involved.

The shoplifter jammed the gun into Stewart's back.

KSL News offered to show the employees the video and get their comments, but they declined for now because of their ongoing civil suit in federal court. They did tell us their story last winter, and now the video verifies it.

The gunman struggled with three workers against the wall, and had them worried.

"He looked right at me and said, ‘This gun is cocked. Come on guys, just let me go. I don't want to do this. I don't want to hurt anybody. Don't make me do this," said Shawn Ray, also one of the employees involved in the incident.

As they wrestled away from the wall, the video shows the workers have the gun isolated, but they're still trying to get control.

"I reached up and grabbed his wrist and his shoulder and spun him around," Ray said.

Co-worker Lori Poulsen then moved in and ripped the gun away from the struggling men.

"You have to make a decision," Poulsen said. "Do I fight for my life, or do I stand here and watch?"

The struggle eased up, and the employees hung on to Longton until the police arrived to handcuff him him a couple of minutes later.


You have to make a decision: Do I fight for my life, or do I stand here and watch?

–Lori Poulsen, former Walmart employee


The next week, Walmart fired the four employees. Company policy says workers must disengage from a suspect once a gun comes out.

At the time, Walmart defended the firings in a statement, which read in part: "We appreciate the intentions demonstrated by our associates in this situation, but the actions taken put their safety — and potentially the safety of our customers and other associates — in jeopardy."

Three of those workers are suing Walmart over wrongful termination. They've lost wages and insurance, and now want compensation.

"I honeslty felt worse than when I had the gun at my back," Stewart said, talking about the moment he learned he had been fired. "I honestly felt betrayed."

When KSL News persevered in getting the video, Walmart even threatened Layton City to try to keep them from releasing it. In a letter last week, Walmart attorneys wrote: "If Layton City intends to release Walmart's video tape to KSL, Walmart will move forward in district court, seeking an injunction to prevent Layton City from doing so under GRAMA."

Meanwhile, the former employees' lawsuit against Walmart won't go to court until 2013. But their attorney anticipates a settlement offer from the company.

Written by Jed Boalwith contributions from Andrew Adams.

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Jed Boal

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