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Tennessee officer in uniform carrying a firearm asked to leave restaurant

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By: Taylor Ellis

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WTVC) - A uniformed officer with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency says he was asked to leave a Cleveland restaurant because he was carrying his service weapon.

In a public post on Facebook, TWRA officer Andrew Ward said he was asked by a manager at the Outback Steakhouse in Cleveland to remove his weapon.

Ward says he explained that he had to have it on his person because he was in uniform, but the manager explained that the restaurant was a "gun-free zone."

Ward says that Outback has apologized for the incident.

On Saturday afternoon, Ward shared the following statement with NewsChannel 9 through text message:" I have spoken with the manger involved, the regional manager and the Vice President of operations for Outback today. They have apologized profusely and I have accepted their apology and the issue in my opinion has been concluded. "

He says that another customer seated across from him was “scared for her life” and afraid because “police are shooting people.”

Ward posted to his Facebook page that the manager at Outback apologized and will be sending him a $100 gift card.

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We reached out to Tracy Thompson, a manager at the restaurant.

She tells us that Outback serves officer with or without weapons, and that the incident was a mistake.

Depend on us to bring you updates to this story online and on-air as they are made available.

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