Three Taco Bell employees who were all carrying guns during a shift put them to use on Wednesday to shoot and kill an attempted armed robber.
None of the male workers at the fast food restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio, have been named. All were armed when two masked robbers stormed the restaurant at 2.45am on Wednesday to demand cash.
The employees, two of whom are 19 and one is 23, opened fire, shooting one of them in the ribs. The other ran away.
When police arrived at the restaurant, they found the attempted robber unconscious with a loaded gun in his hand. He had been shot six times in total and was later pronounced dead at hospital.
In Ohio, business owners can prohibit guns in the work place and many do but it is not a legal requirement.
It is not known whether Arthur Giles, the franchise owner of the Taco Bell where the shooting occurred on Wednesday, allows employees to bring their weapons to work or if the men have concealed-carry licenses.
A staff member reels in disbelief outside the Taco Bell in Cleveland, Ohio, where three employees shot and killed an armed robber on Wednesday. It is not clear if this man was one of those involving in the shooting but he is pictured giving a statement to police
So far none of the employees are facing charges. Giles said they acted in self-defense and is cooperating with police.
Footage obtained by Fox 8 Cleveland immediately after the shooting shows one employee dressed in a Taco Bell uniform sitting on the ground outside the restaurant, holding his hands up to his mouth in disbelief.
It is not clear how many customers were inside the restaurant at the time of the shooting. The Taco Bell workers called 911. They told operators that shots had been fired and that someone was on the ground.
They would not elaborate on the details and said they would wait until police officers arrived to discuss it.
‘Everyone at the store is okay, from my understanding. All the employees and all the customers are safe,’ Giles told Cleveland.com.
Taco Bell has issued a statement to say it is cooperating with authorities and that it had offered counselling to the three employees.
Under Ohio state law, business owners can prohibit gun owners with concealed carry licenses from bringing their firearms onto premises if they wish but it is not a legal requirement.
Many do and enforce the law with proper signage in the workplace which indicates that guns are not allowed on the premises.
Police arrived at the fast food restaurant to find the armed robber unconscious on the ground with a loaded gun in his hand. He was taken to hospital where he was later pronounced dead
A new law that was introduced in March made it legal for employees at gun-free businesses to bring their firearms into company parking lots so long as they were contained within their own private vehicle.
On Taco Bell’s website, its code of conduct makes no mention of its rules on the topic.
It instructs that local, state and federal laws must be honored at each location but says it is the responsibility of franchisees to enforce these laws at its different restaurants.
When contacted by DailyMail.com on Thursday morning, Taco Bell did not respond to questions surrounding its gun policy for employees.
The shooting took place at this Taco Bell in Cleveland, Ohio, in the early hours of Wednesday morning
Police are seen inside the fast food restaurant immediately after the shooting on Wednesday
It is a common theme with large fast food companies that individual franchise owners are responsible for choosing and enforcing policies on the ground.
Both McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts take a similar approach, leaving it up to local owners to decide whether customers are able to bring their firearms into restaurants and stores.
In 2013, Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz sparked controversy when he said guns were not welcome in his stores.
Others business including Whataburger, Chipotle, Panera Bread, Sonic, Chili’s and Target ban customers from openly carrying their weapons while on their premises.
There is no federal law banning employees of any business from bringing concealed weapons to work.
In some states, teachers are allowed to bring concealed weapons to work so long as they have been permitted to do so by school board officials.
Hospitals across the country also set the rules for whether doctors, nurses or other employees can bring weapons to work. Most prohibit it, mandating that only on-shift security personnel are able to be armed.
The issue is a source of hot debate, with some claiming in the past that employees at the scene of mass shootings could have saved lives had they been allowed to bring their own guns.
Few mass shootings have taken place in fast food restaurants in recent years.
CAN FAST FOOD RESTAURANT STAFF TAKE GUNS TO WORK?
In every state across the country, it is the responsibility of the business owner or manager to enforce the on-premises firearms policy.
There is no federal law which bans people from bringing guns to work but many businesses insist on operating gun-free zones.
To be allowed to do this legally, bosses must display the proper signage stating that it is a gun-free zone and employees must be aware of the policy.
These laws apply to fast food restaurant workers just as they do every other business. Some fast food restaurants including Chipotle and Whataburger have stated in the past that they do not allow customers to carry guns openly.
This would suggest an anti-weapons stance for employees but it is down to the individual franchise owner to make the decision.
Gunman John Taylor shot seven Wendy’s employees in 2000
In Ohio, all workers with concealed carry licenses are now allowed to bring their weapons on to company parking lots so long as they keep them in their car.
Pro-gun activists argue that employees in businesses which are susceptible to mass shootings should be able to bring their own weapons to work in order to protect themselves.
Fast food restaurant massacres are less commonly spoken of than those which occur in schools, hospitals or movie theaters, and many often begin as armed robberies.
Prolific massacres include the 1991 San Ysidro McDonald’s shooting in California when 22 were killed and 19 were injured.
In May 2000, seven employees at a Wendy’s in Flushing, New York, died in a separate mass shooting. The shooter was
The McDonalds in San Ysidro , California, where 22 died in 1991 in a mass shooting