After single-handedly taking down a would-be bank robber, a Centre Mall security guard hailed by many as a hero said he was just doing his job.
For his efforts, Iain King says he was canned.
King admitted he knew that his employer might frown on his decision to engage in a brief but intense scuffle with a masked bandit trying to hold up the mall's Desjardins Credit Union branch on Nov. 30.
"Their regulations say we're only supposed to observe," said King of the new protocol issued by the security company he worked for. "They changed what we can do. We are not supposed to give chase or make arrests anymore.
"I have a hard time with that," he added. "A security guard is supposed to protect property and people."
So when King spotted a man wearing a ski mask approach the bank teller and slam his hand on the counter, he pounced.
"Before he knew it I was right beside him."
The two struggled and ended up outside the credit union's doors.
A passerby helped King hold the man down until police arrived.
Two days later, said King, he was taken into his supervisor's office and let go.
He was looking for a new job anyway and had even written his employer that he'd be giving his notice once he found something else. Workplace politics were getting to him, he said.
But with less than a month to go before Christmas and a newborn baby at home, King said the timing couldn't be worse.
Centre Mall manager Wayne Roberts said he could not comment on the incident and added the matter was between King and his employer, G4S Security Services.
For their part, the international security firm issued a firm "no comment."
Mall employees expressed their regret yesterday over King's apparent dismissal.
One worker who would only identify herself at Karen said she was disgusted.
"It just sickens me that someone did the right thing and instead of being commended for it, he loses his job."
Karen added that she has felt unsettled since the carjacking and grisly sex assault of a woman abducted in the mall's parking lot in February 2003.
She added she admired King's diligent work ethic and feels less safe with him gone.
"I don't understand why the security guards are even here if they can't protect the employees and the patrons of the mall," she said.
"What are they supposed to do if I get attacked in the parking lot -- stand there and watch?"
Detective Sergeant Paul Downey of the police service's break and enter unit insisted he could not condone King's actions.
"People could be harmed," he said. "But we can't control someone's instincts."
While Downey warned against civilians trying to take the law into their own hands, he admitted that King's actions might win him a citizen's award.
"We want to thank him for apprehending a bank robber," Downey said. "He helped catch a bad guy and we appreciate it."