A pizza deliveryman won’t face charges for fatally shooting a would-be robber several times when he was approached in a high-crime area, but his employer, Pizza Hut, has fired him for violating a company policy against carrying firearms.
Ronald B. Honeycutt, 38, who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, says he’s been delivering pizzas for 20 years and has always packed heat on the job.
According to a report in the Indianapolis Star, prosecutors announced Friday the Carmel, Ind., man will not face criminal charges.
“It’s a clear case of self-defense,” Deputy Prosecutor Barb Crawford said. “He did what the law allows him to do to protect himself.”
Jerome Brown-Dancler approached Honeycutt at around 11 p.m. on May 17 just after he had made a pizza delivery in Indianapolis. According to the report, Brown-Dancler pointed a 9 mm handgun at the Pizza Hut employee as he was entering his van.
Brown-Dancler’s gun carried a loaded 14-round clip but had no bullet in the chamber, Crawford told the Star. When confronted, Honeycutt pulled his own 9 mm from the back of his pants and fired until it was empty. He says he fired 15 times in about eight seconds. An autopsy revealed Brown-Dancler was hit at least 10 times.
According to the report, Honeycutt insists Brown-Dancler didn’t fall until after the last shot was fired.
“The guy kept standing. He knew he was injured when he fell,” Honeycutt told the paper. “His concern was he made an error, and the only thing he could say when I was grabbing his gun off the ground was, ‘I just wanted pizza.'”
After the encounter, Honeycutt took Brown-Dancler’s gun, fearing it might be stolen if it was left with the body. He got in his van, drove to the Pizza Hut restaurant where he worked and told his manager to call police, Crawford said.
“This was late at night. This was a high-crime area,” Crawford is quoted as saying. “He left because he wasn’t sure whether or not Brown-Dancler had any friends with him. As it turns out, he did indeed have friends with him. They left when they heard shots fired.”
Honeycutt says he plans to find another job delivering pizzas.
“Other criminals better think twice, because I’m going back out there,” he said, “and I know I’m not alone in the way I think about this.”
Some Pizza Hut customers have complained to the company after it fired Honeycutt.
“I hope those of you in the media will realize the incredible unfairness of a huge company telling its employees – in essence – they must agree to die for the company rather than use legal reasonable means to defend themselves,” Rick Whitham, an Indianapolis attorney, told WND. He says he saw Pizza Hut’s action as “clear discrimination against those who choose to lawfully exercise a legal, heavily regulated right.”
Whitham wrote to the company: “I don’t spend my money with businesses that openly discriminate against people such as myself who understand that the police have no affirmative duty to protect any particular citizen and that no company is worth dying for – particularly yours.”
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