By Brendan O’Brien | Reuters
A supermarket cashier in the U.S. state of Georgia was shot and killed by a customer on Monday in a dispute over the wearing of a face mask before the gunman was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with the store’s security guard, the local sheriff said.
The guard was also wounded in the incident which occurred at a little after 1 p.m. at the Big Bear Supermarket in DeKalb County, DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox told a news conference.
“It was over a mask. I don’t know if they were wearing, or not wearing,” she said. “The wearing of the mask and not wearing of the mask, people have their own opinion about it and it is very sensitive at this time.”
Several people were inside the store when a confrontation over mask wearing ensued. The gunman pulled out a weapon and shot the cashier. The security guard the opened fire on him, striking him a couple of times, Maddox said.
Businesses in Georgia can request customers wear a mask to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but are prohibited from requiring them to do so, according to executive orders issued by Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican.
Maddox did not release the names of the individuals involved in the shooting. She said all three were rushed to the hospital, where the guard remains in stable condition after he was shot twice.
The security guard is a retired 30-year veteran of the DeKalb County Police Department who is now a reserve deputy with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office. The guard, who works part-time at the supermarket, was wearing a protective vest, Maddox said.