A man fired gunshots at a Cigars International employee after the employee told him he must wear a mask in the store or wait outside. The incident took place earlier today at the Cigars International location at 4078 Nazareth Pike in Bethlehem, Pa.

No one was injured by the gunfire.

According to Mat Cook, director of retail operations for Cigars International, a man entered the store without a mask on which is against both the store’s policy as well as state restrictions.

“The individual said ‘medical condition,’” said Cook. “We have a protocol where we will allow a customer to wait outside, gather all the cigars, and do the transaction outside.”

Instead, the man allegedly grabbed two cigars, did not offer to pay for them and then walked outside to the parking lot. Cook said a clerk at the store followed the customer outside so he could get a license plate number to report the customer to the police. The man then took out a gun and discharged three shots: two at the employee and one in the air. He then got in his car and drove away.

Update (Aug. 1, 2020): According to lehighvalley.com a 35-year-old man was apprehended after a shoot-out with police. He has been charged with eight charges including attempted homicide. 

Cigars International is the world’s largest cigar retailer. It has three locations in Pennsylvania, two in Texas and two upcoming stores in Florida. It is best known for its website and catalog.

Scandinavian Tobacco Group owns Cigars International.

Update (Aug. 1, 2020) — Added info about the arrest of a suspect.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.