Mall security guard takes action against irrational customer

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On February 27, Garcia took heroic action and helped a Visalia police officer arrest a suspect causing a disturbance in the Visalia Mall. For his quick wit, Garcia received a merit award from his company and the Visalia Police Department. The ceremony took place in the Visalia Mall food court next to the Foot Locker shoe store, where the initial scene took place.

Mark Hopkins, the mall’s security manager, said it was late afternoon when the Visalia mall security team received a call from the shoe store. They reported a subject who was behaving strangely and attempted to enter the store’s stash. Security guards were sent to defuse the situation but found themselves unable to do so.

“He was a pretty tall gentleman,” Hopkins described. “He was very aggressive with them.

Visalia Mall Security Guard Luis Garcia Receives Lt. Kevin Kroeze Award

The Visalia Police Department was contacted for assistance, but their efforts to defuse the case were met with disrespect. Mall security emptied the store of employees and shoppers as it quickly became loud and dangerous. The Visalia police officer attempted to secure the subject, but the subject was uncooperative and there was a physical struggle until the two were on the ground. Garcia rendered judgment and took the initiative by stepping in to assist the officer during the assault. He managed to handcuff the subject before other officers arrived.

“It’s a pretty interesting place to work,” Hopkins noted of the Visalia Mall. “We are often tasked here with things that are not in the norm. It is not the first time [Garcia has] had to help.

“Security Guard Garcia went above and beyond. He saw a situation where someone needed help and he did what he thought was right,” said Rick Feder, General Manager of Visalia Mall .

Lt. Kevin Kroeze of the Visalia Police Department attended the ceremony in gratitude: “It was a good opportunity to say thank you to Luis, for his help.”

The merit award was presented to Garcia at 8:30 a.m. on June 14.

“He was honored to receive the award,” Hopkins said. “He feels like he’s just doing his job, because helping people is what he loves to do.”

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