North Putnam High School graduate Elijah "Levi" Elliott, 24, assured a news conference in Indianapolis Wednesday that he was not being pressured to leave Kroger, even though the grocery store chain has a policy prohibiting employees from bringing a handgun or any other weapon to work.
Elliott, a Wabash College graduate who had worked his way up the managerial ladder at Kroger, shot and killed a 26-year-old Indianapolis man after the intruder forced an employee of the West 71st Street store into the office and then charged Elliott.
"It's a regrettable situation, and I do think about it every single day," Elliott said of the fatally shooting of Jeremy Atkinson.
"I wish the situation never happened," he added.
Elliott read a statement announcing his resignation, stressing that Kroger has been supportive and offered to let him keep his job.
Elliot said he has had a permit to carry a handgun for three years and knew he was violating a company policy banning employees from carrying weapons while on the job.
Nonetheless, Elliott said he feared for his life and does not regret his actions.
"I hoped I would never have had to use my weapon for protection," he said. "But Mr. Atkinson chose to commit a violent and dangerous act."
Witness testimony and surveillance footage indicate Atkinson stuck an object in the back of unarmed security guard, and ordered her into the office. A second Kroger employee saw Atkinson grab the security guard in a chokehold and shove her against a wall.
That employee hollered for Elliott, and when the store manager responded, the suspect reportedly let the guard go and lunged instead at Elliott, who fired his gun at Atkinson.
"At that point, he charged after me in an office where I had no position to retreat. That's all it is," Elliott added.
Under Indiana law, a shooting can be justified to prevent the commission of a forcible felony (robbery and criminal confinement) and for self-defense and defense of others.
Elliott, formerly of Bainbridge, said Wednesday that Kroger has been supportive of him. However, after talking with family and his attorney (David Seiter) he decided to resign to put the incident behind him.
At the time of the incident, Atkinson had an outstanding warrant out of Marion Criminal Court. In that case, he had been charged with robbery, as well as multiple counts of criminal confinement. He received a six-year executed sentence and had been released to community corrections.
But he violated community corrections, and last February a warrant was issued for his arrest. That warrant was still outstanding at the time of the Dec. 26 incident.