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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A current employee said there was one major flaw at the Johnson City store where 23-year-old Tava Woodard was killed: the cashier trigger button.
The button is used to alert law enforcement of possible emergencies at the store.
Greg Matherly with Washington County’s 911 Dispatch told News Channel 11 that when pushed, such buttons typically send an alert to the alarm company to contact local law enforcement.
“The secondary emergency button was malfunctioned as well,” said Roadrunner Market employee Joseph Aguilar. “Unfortunately, it was not even hooked up.”
On June 2, the Roadrunner convenience store at the corner of North Broadway Street and East Myrtle Avenue in Johnson City was robbed, and the clerk, Tava Woodard, was killed.
Mark Sexton, Jr. and Mark Sexton III have both been arrested and charged with first-degree murder, especially aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit especially aggravated robbery.
Employees of the Roadrunner said they have been requesting that this issue be fixed for a while and that the button was fixed after Woodard’s death.
“The gentleman expressed that we were supposed to be testing it on a monthly basis,” said Aguilar. “No prior management that I have spoken with has had that information. No current management I’ve had has expressed that information.”
Former manager, Ashley Griffin, said she was also not aware of the monthly testing.
“I feel personally really bad about it because I never checked to make sure that they were working or anything,” said Griffin.
Employees say measures have been put in place by upper management to increase security in the building, including installing more surveillance. As of Monday, employees said they have started scheduling two people for their shifts.
“How long will this last? I don’t know,” said employee Kasey Blevins. “We’re hoping it lasts.”
“We never used the ‘buddy system’ prior to this,” said Aguilar. “I feel as though that would’ve helped, but I’m not sure that would’ve cured anything. I’m concerned that the events would’ve occurred in the same way, and there would’ve been two people instead of one.”
News Channel 11 has reached out to the convenience store owner, GPM Investments, multiple times over the past few days to learn about employee safety at their stores and to see if any changes have been made in operations since Woodard’s death.
GPM Investments has not responded to these requests.