A Dunkin’ employee was charged with aggravated manslaughter after he fatally punched an elderly customer who used a racial slur, police said.
The employee, Corey Pujols, 27, was arrested at a home in Tampa, Florida, after police said he punched the 77-year-old unidentified man in the jaw. The man died at a hospital on May 7, three days after the altercation.
The incident began when the man became upset over the lack of service he was receiving at the drive-thru of a Tampa Dunkin’, according to a police statement. The man was asked to leave, but he instead parked and went inside the store.
Police said the man and Pujols started arguing and the man called Pujols, who is Black, a racial slur, the statement says. According to a criminal report affidavit, the man called Pujols the N-word.
Police said Pujols “challenged the victim to repeat the slur.” When the man did just that, Pujols punched the man in the jaw, according to authorities.
“This knocked the victim out and the victim fell to the floor with his head hitting the floor,” the police statement said.
The affidavit says that the man started bleeding from the head and was taken to a hospital in critical condition. The man had a skull fracture and contusions on the brain from blunt trauma to the head, it states.
Pujols told an officer that the man was a regular customer but was “extremely rude” that day, according to the affidavit.
Pujols was initially released from a Hillsborough County jail on May 5 but was arrested again after the man died. Online jail records show he remains in custody. Attorney information was not available for him.
A Dunkin’ spokesperson told NBC affiliate WFLA that the company is “deeply saddened.”
“The franchisee, who independently owns and operates this restaurant, is fully cooperating with the local authorities,” Dunkin’ said in a statement to the news station. “As this is an ongoing investigation, we defer any additional questions to the police.”