An armed security guard working at the Whole Foods Market in Oakland, California, has been fired after he reportedly beat one customer to a bloody pulp Thursday night.
The alleged assault began inside the store located on Bay Place near Lake Merritt around 9.30pm, according to the store’s spokeswoman Beth Krauss.
Zoe Marks, an eye witness to the attack who is in the U.S. on a visit from Edinburgh, Scotland, shared disturbing images of the victim and her account of the incident on Facebook.
In an interview with the Oakland Tribune, Marks said that she saw the argument between the cashier and the victim as he was trying to use an EBT card, which is a food stamp card that operates like a debit card, to buy food from the store.
Horrific: An armed security guard working at the Whole Foods Market in Oakland, California, has been fired after he reportedly beat the man pictured above to a bloody pulp Thursday night
Shocking: Zoe Marks, an eye witness to the attack who took three graphic photos of the victim, says the attack began inside the store
Marks said that the victim was not ‘shouting’ or ‘violent’ and that he wasn’t threatening anyone.
‘He wasn’t shouting at anyone. He wasn’t violent or disruptive,’ Marks said of the customer to the Tribune.
‘There was no threat from him to any of the customers or employees. (We) felt safe until the security guard attacked him.’
On Facebook, Marks described the ‘violent assault’ by saying that the guard ‘slammed’ the victim against ‘concrete pillars’.
Tragic: Marks says the victim was not ‘shouting’ or ‘violent’ and that he wasn’t threatening anyone inside of the store. She shared the image above on her Facebook of the victim being attended to by emergency officials
Zoe Marks, an eyewitness to the violent assault at Whole Foods Market, shared the above post on Facebook about the incident with three graphic photos
In the post, she added that the guard put the shopper into a chokehold and ‘suffocated’ him before throwing him on the ground unconscious.
Marks claims that the guard allegedly locked the man out of the store even though he was unconscious on the pavement.
The graphic images Marks took of the victim have been widely shared across social media, with many people sending tweets to the Whole Foods Market Twitter account, questioning what the store was doing to address this situation.
In one response to a user, a Whole Foods’ official tweeted ‘We’re moving quickly to gather the facts, we want to make it clear that we take a zero tolerance approach to violence.’
Above is the Whole Foods Market in Oakland where the horrific assault took place on Thursday night
An official wrote the above response to a user on Twitter about the incident
An official wrote the above response to a different user on Twitter about the security guard being removed
In another tweet, an official wrote that ‘We are taking this very seriously. The security guard involved in incident has been permanently removed from all WFM stores.’
Oakland Police are investigating the incident and the identities of the victim and guard have not been publicly released.
Police say that the victim is in stable condition at a local hospital.