For security guard and former police deputy Brian Harrison, the New Year started out with a bang – several bangs, to be exact.
On Friday, January 20, 2017, Harrison was at his usual post, working as a Metro Enforcement bank security guard for Alpine Bank in Rockford, IL. It was a laid-back day, and Harrison kept a close eye on the premises while periodically making friendly small talk with bank employees near the front teller station.
At 4:00 pm, an armed, masked man by the name of Laurence A. Turner ran into the bank, pointed gun held out in front of him. Turner fired his weapon, prompting Harrison to return fire. Turner pointed his weapon at Harrison and fired a second time.
Harrison exchanged several rounds with Turner while taking partial shelter when able behind the front teller counter. Turner then retreated out the front door, collapsing on the ground just outside the front doors of the bank. Upon examination, Turner was found to have taken two bullets and was pronounced “dead at the scene.”
Fast forward two months to Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Security guard Harrison has been on administrative leave for two months, pending the outcome of an investigation into the events at Alpine Bank. The Rockford Illinois Police Department has just completed its investigation into those same events.
In an official press conference, Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato stated that Harrison has been cleared of any wrongdoing and his use of deadly force has been deemed “justified.”
Harrison is now being called “heroic” for his rapid and proactive response on behalf of Alpine Bank and its employees.
Turner was found to have drugs in his system at the time of the attempted robbery on Alpine Bank. He was later linked to three other previously unsolved armed robbery attempts that took place in November and December of 2016 at Mincemoyer Jewelers, Members Alliance Credit Union and Harvard State Bank.
As reported to Rockford, IL, 23 WIFR-TV, professional security guards like Brian Harrison must complete a minimum of 40 hours of state-required rigorous training to be permitted to carry a weapon on duty. Many guards like Harrison are former or part-time police officers who possess additional weapons handling, conflict resolution and combat training skills from their employment on the force and elsewhere during their career.
23 WIFR-TV stated that the employers of security guards such as Harrison are legally liable for actions their employees take while on the job. This is especially significant in situations like the Alpine Bank attempted robbery, where calm can give way to chaos within seconds.
There is rarely advance warning in these types of high-stress incidents, and the security guard must rely completely on adrenaline-driven instinct plus training and expertise to make the right call right there on the spot.
Luckily for Metro Enforcement Security, Harrison’s employer (who could not be reached for comment regarding the press conference), Brian Harrison had the training, instincts and heart to do his job admirably.