DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - There's always more to the story. Even something as simple as a discount for pizza at a local restaurant can have more to tell than just a punch-code at a cash register.
"All they have to do is show us their valid concealed carry permit., I don't care for them to show me their weapon," explains Kevin Whitehead, co-owner of A Little PIZZA Joint. "I don't want this turning into the wild, wild west."
The point, as Whitehead explains, is about safety. The reward for those who prove their desire to be safe is a 10 percent discount.
"I support open carry, however, I don't know if those folks have gone through training. If you want to carry a weapon, I have no problem with that, I just want them to be safe," he noted. "We're a mom and pop shop. We have families that come in here."
Among the families was Officer Matthew Gerald, the Baton Rouge Police Officer who was shot and killed during the ambush attack on Sunday, July 17.
"He was a regular," said Whitehead. "He lived right around the corner."
In the week following the incident, Whitehead and his wife Tina served the law enforcement officers who provided their service for Gerald's family. Unfortunately, Whitehead's connection was far deeper.
"I worked in law enforcement for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office and became a burglary and armed robbery detective," Whitehead explained. "I knew all of those guys [who were involved in the shooting]."
Along with his work in law enforcement, Whitehead retired from the Navy after 20 years of service.
"My goal is to promote weapon safety," he noted. "I appreciate people who go and take weapon safety classes. I was raised with weapons."
It was during his time in the military that Whitehead gained appreciation for his new lot in life.
"I lived in Italy for about six years while I was in the military," he said. "I've been working 30 years of my adult life and my wife said 'what do you want to do now?' I said, 'I don't know," so she said I should open a pizzeria. I told her no, but within a couple months we opened the doors."
Soon after opening its doors on March 26, 2016, A Little PIZZA Joint has always offered discounts of military and law enforcement. Although the recent tragedy is not the reason for offering the latest discount, the owner's unfortunate connection to it shows just how far the ripples can be felt by the actions of one person.