July 13, 2007

Colorado 7-Eleven Clerk Shot At, Stance Against Illegal Immigration Gets Him Fired

Paul Conrad © Aspen Times

A 7-Eleven official told Bruno Kirchenwitz Monday that he was being fired for "an egregious customer complaint" over an early June incident.

Although 7-Eleven says the firing stems from "an egregious customer complaint", not the store shooting that clerk Bruno Kirchenwitz says occurred after two Hispanic men confronted him for his U.S. Border Patrol hat and stance on illegal immigration:
First someone took potshots at the 7-Eleven store where Bruno Kirchenwitz clerked after two Hispanic men warned him about wearing a "US Border Patrol" cap off-the-job.

Then he was canned by 7-Eleven after the June 26 shooting and his opposition to illegal immigration made him a hero to some and a controversial figure to others in tiny Basalt, home to workers who toil in tony Aspen resorts.

"First I get fired at and then I get fired," Kirchenwitz said today.

The 54-year-old mountain man said a 7-Eleven official told him Monday he was being fired for "an egregious customer complaint" over an early June incident.

The former clerk says he's a well-liked "people person" who got good job reviews. He added that 7-Eleven won't give him details of the complaint, including who made it.

"To have me fired like this for what I consider a bogus reason, it's just not right," said Kirchenwitz, who thinks the shooting furor cost him his job.

"At least they could have had the honesty and said, 'Hey, you're bad for business. We can't have you in here.'"
Why won't 7-Eleven divulge the details of the alleged "complaint"? I smell a lawsuit . . .

Suffice to say corporate is denying any wrongdoing in Kirchenwitz' termination:
7-Eleven Inc. officials deny the clerk was fired because of his cap or his stand on illegal immigration, but they say privacy laws prevent them from discussing personnel actions.

"Someone does not get dismissed just because of their political views or what they say away from the store or what they wear away from the store," said Margaret Chabris, a spokeswoman for 7-Eleven Inc. in Dallas.

She said corporate officials visited Basalt recently and spent days doing an in-depth "investigation in the areas of customer service and employee interaction."

Kirchenwitz said he was placed on paid leave soon after the shooting, in part for his own safety.

"Suffice to say," Chabris said, "(store officials) did not make this determination capriciously nor was it necessarily based on one thing."
Oh, and the incident? Try intimidation by two "Hispanic" men, threatening rather explicitly the 7-Eleven clerk's safety:
The dispute centered on the June shooting that occurred after the two Hispanic men confronted Kirchenwitz as he worked his night shift at 7-Eleven.

"We're going to catch you alone and we're going to show you what we think of your hat," Kirchenwitz said the men told him. "We'll be waiting for you."

Kirchenwitz at first thought the men were kidding and just joked with them.

"Immigration is what made this country great," stressed Kirchenwitz, who immigrated with his family at age 2 from Germany. "But if we can't control our borders, what's going to happen ... to my kids and my grandkids. What kind of future am I leaving them by letting this go on?"

About 45 minutes after he left work, someone fired five rifle shots through the store window where the clerk had been standing. No one was injured.

The unusual shooting sparked a uproar, spurring church leaders and police to hold community meetings to defuse racial tensions in the 3,300-person town that has a growing Hispanic community.
The investigation is on-going.

In many smaller towns, growing Hispanic communities have produced tensions along ethnic lines, as people struggle to become accustomed to new neighbors. Had the shooting targeted an Hispanic clerk, and featured a white perpetrator, then there would be a furor of outrage at the inherent racism of the action. But Hispanics targeting a white clerk who happens to oppose illegal immigration? Buried by the MSM for over two weeks.

**Update as of July 13:
The Basalt police said they know who they are looking for in regard to gunshots being fired into the Basalt 7-Eleven on June 26.

The police originally issued a description of two persons of interest in the incident. One man from Basalt came forward to talk with the police but was said to not be forthcoming with much information.

Now the police say they know the name of the second person they are seeking in the incident; but all the information they are releasing publicly is that he is from the El Jebel area and still at large.

Basalt Police Chief Keith Ikeda said this week that they are not sure where the man is but that they are still looking for him, and the incident is still under investigation.

Five shots were fired into the store through a window that frames the area where the store clerk stands behind the cash registers. The shooting took place at 11:10 p.m. on a Tuesday night. No one was hurt but police say someone could have been killed.

Earlier in the evening, a store clerk had traded words with two men, who the police described as Latino. The clerk, Bruno Kirchenwitz, said the men were asking him about a hat he frequently wears that says U.S. Border Patrol.
**Update 2
--excerpts from Kirchenwitz' letters to the editor:
Kirchenwitz has written many scathing letters to the local papers over the past 15 years criticizing illegal workers and current U.S. immigration policies. He also frequently wears a baseball cap with the words "U.S. Border Patrol" on it, although police have determined he was not wearing the cap at the time the men are said to have confronted him.
. . .
In a letter to the Aspen Daily News published April 18, 2007, Kirchenwitz wrote, "Seems to me the old B.S. (Bush the Spinmeister) has been doctoring the estimates of the illegal hordes in the this country." He also wrote, "We must stem the tide that threatens our sovereignty. Erase the financial incentive for working here illegally. Require our local currency exporters to run their oft-illegal clientele through a federal check for citizenship status."

And in a letter April 5, 2007, published in the Daily News, Kirchenwitz wrote, "But I do empathize. I emigrated from Germany in 1954. We came through Ellis Island and had our teeth and orifices examined like so much livestock. And six years after World War II, we generically labeled Nazis knew prejudice and racism. Today's societal hostility stems from ancient tribal mentality. You're making us work harder! To support your family, you're willing to work a fraction of what we require. And I feel really bad. Hell, if I walked in your shoes, I'd swim the Rio Grande until I was too old to float! Some of my best friends in the valley are Latino, but when do we say enough?"
Hardly the type of passionate political sentiment that should yield a shooting, or result in firing.

Disagree with Kirchenwitz?

Write your own letter to the editor. Organize and hold a rally (even if almost no one shows up).

Where has Denver's media been?

Freedom Folks caught this story at the local level on June 30, before Kirchenwitz was fired. It has since taken two weeks to reach Denver's media.

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