Security guard charged in Memphis gas station murder not licensed in Tennessee

Security company says subcontractor hired the security guard
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2021 at 7:07 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The security guard accused of murdering a man at a Kroger gas station in Memphis was not licensed in Tennessee, according to state records obtained by Action News 5.

State regulations require armed security guards to be licensed in Tennessee.

The records provide new details but also raise more questions about why the security guard, Gregory Livingston, was hired in the first place.

On Wednesday, Allied Universal, the company that Kroger said employed Livingston, released its first statement on the tragedy.

Allied Universal offered its sympathies to the family of Alvin Motley, the man killed at the gas station on Aug. 7 and said it is fully cooperating with the Memphis Police Department’s investigation.

“His loss is devastating,” said Vanessa Showalter, a spokeswoman for Allied Universal.

Showalter said Allied Universal did not hire Livingston. She said a subcontractor hired him.

Allied Universal has not named the subcontractor.

“We are conducting a thorough investigation of this incident, including a review of the third-party contractor who hired the officer involved in this incident. Effective immediately, we have terminated all business with this third-party contractor,” said Showalter. “Additionally, we have initiated a comprehensive review of every third-party contractor throughout our operations to help ensure that all of our personnel engage the public with care, compassion and professionalism.”

A Memphis state lawmaker plans to introduce legislation to hold companies that hire unlicensed security guards accountable.

State Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, says under his legislation company executives could be thrown in jail if they hire unlicensed security guards who kill innocent people.

“They didn’t hire this guy just out of the blue by luck. They knew he was unqualified,” said Hardaway.

Hardaway says right now companies can be held civilly liable for the actions of their employees.

But he says Motley’s death shows stronger penalties are needed in Tennessee.

“The fact that their actions resulted in the death of an innocent individual, they should pay a criminal penalty,” said Hardaway.

State records show Livingston applied for his Tennessee security guard license in 2017 and on August 2 of this year, just days before the Kroger gas station shooting.

A spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance said Livingston didn’t complete all the requirements in 2017 and his 2021 application was denied on Tuesday because he was found to be working without a license.

The spokesman said Livingston never had a license in Tennessee at any time.

Records show Livingston completed his Tennessee guard training as required in July, earning perfect scores.

In addition to being a former Horn Lake police officer from 1998 to 2001, Action News 5 has learned Livingston is also a certified gun instructor in Mississippi.

He also founded and operated his own gun training business in Mississippi.

“The fact that you’re qualified to handle a weapon does not mean that you’re qualified to handle people,” said Hardaway. “And you can’t handle people if you can’t control yourself.”

Hardaway says security guards also need to undergo the same periodic psychological training law enforcement officials are subjected to.

Hardaway plans to introduce his legislation next year.

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