A Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency officer was asked to leave an Ohio Outback Steakhouse restaurant because he was carrying his service weapon.
The officer, Andrew Ward, says he was out having dinner with his wife when the manager asked him to remove the weapon, reports News Channel 9.
"I let her know that I couldn't because I was in uniform," Ward wrote in Facebook post that has since been deleted, reports the Daily Mail. "She then went and made a call and came back and we were asked to leave because Outback is a gun free zone."
Ward adds that the manager explained a nearby customer became "scared for her life" and terrified because "police are shooting people."
Outback later apologized for the manager's behavior.
"We've always allowed uniformed law enforcement officers to carry their side arms inside our restaurants," said the Director of Media and Community Relations for Bloomin Brands, Outback's parent company. "A manager made a mistake and we have discussed this with her. We have contacted the guest personally and apologized."
Ward says the manager at the Outback also apologized and will be sending him a $100 gift card.
"They have apologized profusely and I have accepted their apology and the issue, in my opinion, has been concluded," he said.
Nevertheless, news of the incident quickly captured the attention of other officers, who were upset by the restaurant's actions.
"I was very saddened to hear the reports of a law-enforcement officer who was asked to leave a restaurant in this community," Wrote Bradley County, Tennessee, Sheriff Eric Watson in a Facebook post. "While I truly respect the restaurant for reaching out to the officer, our community must also show support to the men and women who place the badge on their chests every single day in order to protect the establishment in which the officer was asked to leave."
However, some took the restaurant's side.
"This is a family restaurant," wrote one person in the Daily Mail's comments section. "And he should have respected that woman who spoke up and not brought his gun into a restaurant that has a posted no guns allowed sign. He was in uniform also, could he not have gone home and changed so he and his wife could have had a nice dinner out."
"If the restaurant policy is no firearms, then no firearms, officer of the law or not," agreed another. "It is well documented that police officers shoot unarmed people in the USA daily, he has no right to complain, go eat with your gun loving citizens and allow good folk to eat in a gun free oasis."
Sources: News Channel 9, Daily Mail, Bradley County Sheriff's Office, TN Sheriff Eric Watson/Facebook / Featured Image: Geoffrey Fairchild/Flickr / Embedded Images: Alton/Wikimedia Commons, Anthony22/Wikimedia Commons