It sparked a debate over whether he should have pulled the trigger. Kim Behrens reports for WCIA-3 News.
Andrew Smith can't believe how life changes in the blink of an eye.
"At that point, it's not my safety, it's everybody's."
As he looks at this seemingly ordinary Kroger Grocery Store, the memories come flooding back to a dangerous situation just a few weeks ago.
"Having a weapon pointed at you is scary."
Smith had been hired to guard the business on East College Avenue after two recent armed robberies.
"We always say, 'a weapon in hand is a weapon in play,' and if somebody has a weapon after you've identified yourself, they're willing to use it."
In the early morning hours of March 10th, that's exactly what happened. Exclusive surveillance video shows the alleged suspect, Jason Reeves, walking in to the store.
"You look up, you see somebody with a mask, and then you just take a second, 'is this really happening?'"
Reeves pulled out what appeared to be a gun, turning the quiet business into a crime scene.
"The danger, the patrons in the store, your own safety. You start trying to make the best informed decision with the information you have."
Smith says he shouted to put the weapon down multiple times, but that didn't happen, so he fired.
"During the situation, at that time, I made the most informed decision I could, and I'll never regret it. I never will, because he put me in that situation, and I feared for my life and a feared for everybody else's."
As it turns out, police say the suspect, Jason Reeves, is allegedly responsible for the two prior armed robberies at Kroger. No charges are being filed against Smith. No one else was hurt.
"Were you thankful you had a weapon that night?"
"Yes. Yes, I was. Not only for my protection, for everybody's protection."
Police say the weapon Reeves used was an air pistol, not an actual gun. Smith hopes to move on from this and pursue a full-time career in law enforcement.