Selling pizza–and delivering it–is a dangerous business. A week ago in Kansas City, a group of young adults attacked a pizza delivery man with a baseball bat and nearly killed him. Six have been arrested in the case, several of them female. A week earlier in Milwaukee, two men shot and killed a pizza delivery man and then ate the pizza. They too have been apprehended.
William Hotop did not want to be a victim. Hotop, 31, was closing up his Springfield, Missouri, Pizza Hut on September 12 when someone outside in the dark started to break through the front glass door. Hotop dashed to where he knew a gun was kept and seized it. The intruder pulled a gun from his hoodie pocket it and leveled at Hotop.
“It was like, ‘Oh, s—,'” Hotop told the Springfield News-Leader Tuesday. “I know you can’t put that in the news, but that’s the best way I can describe it.”
Hotop fired. So did the intruder. Hotop ducked back behind the counter unhurt and then reached out and fired a couple more shots as the intruder turned and ran. “It was a good old-fashioned gunfight,” said Hotop. “I protected [Pizza Hut] like it was my home. I love my job.”
His job may not love him. Pizza Hut suspended Hotop without pay and reportedly fired the manager working that night. The manager’s termination may have been for keeping a gun on the premises. Pizza Hut did not respond to the News-Leader’s calls. Although the gun was not his, the fact that Hotop has a ten-year-old felony rap against him probably will not help his cause. “I can’t believe that after I protected the store, I’m basically losing my job,” said Hotop who hopes to get his job back.
According to Springfield police, the would-be desperado robbed a group of teens in the parking lot “while brandishing a firearm” immediately before breaking into the Pizza Hut. Hotop believes his response may have saved his life and the lives of two other employees on duty. No one was shot, and no money was taken.
Word to Pizza Hut execs: Instead of suspending your workers for fighting back, you might do better to train them and arm them.