Security guard accused of opening fire in Kroger parking lot set to appear in court


Gregory Towner/ Shelby County Jail

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The security guard accused of shooting a man in a Kroger parking lot will appear in court on Wednesday.

Gregory Towner was charged with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

According to police records, the victim, Willie Tate, drove his friend to the store located on Frayser Boulevard Monday evening.

Tate stayed in the car, but when his friend returned he was being followed by the security guard.

Police said that’s when Towner opened fire, hitting the victim in the arm.

When questioned about the incident, Towner told authorities the men stole some meat and he fired a warning shot at their truck.

The store confirmed someone tried to take off with some meat, but police were never called because it was returned.

Tate was rushed to the hospital and has undergone surgery for his injury.

His sister told WREG her brother was shot in his only arm.

“He actually got hit by a train about six or seven years ago and lost an arm and leg. Now the other arm is injured,” said Charlotte Whitley. “He was crying. He’s thinking he’s not going to have his other arm. They think they are going to have to take it.”

Thankfully, he is expected to be okay.

A Kroger representative sent the following statements:

Kroger Delta Division is cooperating with the Memphis Police Department while they investigate the incident that occurred yesterday in the parking lot of the Frayser Village Shopping Center.

Kroger has an ongoing partnership with Central Defense. They have been great partners over the years and we value their support in our stores.

Kroger will continue to work with Central Defense to provide security for our  Mid-South Stores. We have a number of security measures in place internally and externally and we will continue to work to ensure the safety of our associates and shoppers.

The company Towner works for, Central Defense Security, has yet to return WREG’s repeated phone calls.

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