JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An Amazon employee was found in possession of a firearm at the fulfillment center on Pecan Park Road and taken into custody Monday, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Harry Patterson, 56, was charged with misdemeanor battery after he was found with a small black Ruger 380 with seven rounds.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, another employee and an off-duty state trooper who was doing security at the complex noticed the man was in possession of a firearm.
Investigators said the man was in the midst of an argument after asking to leave work but was told he could not because he had to finish administrative duties. They said the man began making racial slurs and threatening gestures but that he never threatened to use the gun.
The confrontation happened after employees noticed Patterson acting erratically and Amazon asked him to submit to a random drug test, according to an arrest report. Patterson then got upset when he went to leave and a coworker tried to prevent him from driving, according to the report.
Investigators said the off-duty trooper wrestled the man to the ground. The incident has some employees of the facility concerned about their safety.
Patterson, who has no prior felony convictions, has a valid concealed carry weapons permit, according to JSO.
Amazon fired Patterson after the incident, according to JSO.
In October, a man was charged with murder after a shooting at the Amazon center.
Back in June, a 20-year-old man was killed while standing in a line outside waiting to apply for a job. Two bystanders were grazed by bullets but did not require hospitalization.
An employee, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke with News4Jax.
“It tells me that the employer and Amazon altogether really doesn’t take the safety of employees into consideration," the employee said.
That employee feels security has not improved after past incidents.
“I just hope that this is a wakeup call for Amazon because the changes should have been implemented long ago, and by now I just want to know how long it’s going to take for them to decide to do something," the employee said.
An Amazon spokesperson says the metal detectors at the facility aren’t being used to help with social distancing due to COVID-19. The spokesperson said there will now be additional security with local law enforcement guarding the parking lot 24/7.
An employee who was inside the building during Monday’s arrest said employees were sent home a letter that said there will soon be revamped contactless exit screenings.