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Pizza Delivery Driver Won't Be Fired For Shooting Robbery Suspect

A Papa John's pizza delivery driver who says she shot a would-be robber in the face will not be fired, despite her violation of the company's policy against employees carrying guns. Instead, the employee will be reassigned to work inside a store.

The shooting occurred in the Atlanta area Sunday night, when the driver was making a delivery that police now suspect was a setup for a carjacking and robbery.

"She arrived at the location, and a male began approaching the vehicle she thought was there to pick up the pizza," DeKalb County Police Capt. Stephen Fore tells local WSB TV. "When he got to her, he produced a handgun and forced her out of the vehicle and onto the ground."

The driver, whose name hasn't been released, was carrying a firearm of her own in her pocket; she was able to reach it while down on the ground "and then shoot the suspect," Fore says.

Donquaz Stevenson, 24, was later found nearby with a gunshot wound to his face. He was taken to a hospital and charged with armed robbery.

But a second suspect fled the scene, driving the silver Honda that had been driven by the Papa John's employee, who Atlanta's CBS 46 TV says is 27 years old.

The driver's mother tells WSB that her daughter was still shaken by the encounter — and that she was also afraid she would lose her job for breaking the company's rules against carrying firearms.

After news of the shooting spread, many people commented on Papa John's Facebook page, urging the company not to punish the employee; some threatened a boycott.

One man wrote:

"Don't fire the delivery driver!
"You'll send a message to criminals that they have open season to rob your employees if you fire her! For the safety of your employees, don't fire her!"

Today, the pizza chain announced it would not fire the driver, citing "specific facts of the situation" and saying it would offer her counseling.

A Papa John's spokesman tells us:

"The shooting that occurred during a Papa John's delivery in Atlanta recently is a tragic event. The safety of Papa John's employees is a top priority for our company. Company policy prohibits employees from utilizing firearms in the performance of their duties. We plan no changes to our current policy, which is designed to protect customers and employees. Upon investigation and considering the specific facts of the situation, we have reassigned the employee to work in the store and are offering her counseling to help her recuperate from the incident."

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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