A man has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly shooting a Waffle House employee in Aurora, Colorado, one night after being asked to wear a face covering inside the restaurant, police said.
Kelvin Watson, 27, was arrested Monday morning by the Aurora Police Department on a charge of attempted first-degree murder, KTLA sister station KDVR in Denver reported.
Employees at the Waffle House told police that Watson came to the restaurant shortly after midnight on May 14 and was not wearing a mask, according to an arrest affidavit.
A waitress told Watson he needed to have a mask on or he could not be served, the court document stated. The restaurant was offering takeout orders.
Watson allegedly returned with a mask that he was not wearing, and was again told he could not be served. Police were told he pulled out a small gun and placed it on the counter, then told the cook he could “blow your brains out,” the station reported.
The following night, again after midnight, police say Watson returned to the restaurant. The same cook from the previous night told Watson he was not going to be served, according to the court document. Watson then allegedly slapped the cook across the face.
The cook told police he began running toward the back of the Waffle House. Watson then allegedly shot the cook in his chest or abdomen outside the restaurant, according to the court document. The cook told police he ran toward his home while calling 911.
The victim was taken to a hospital and was released later that same day, a Waffle House spokesperson said.
Njeri Boss, Director of Public Relations for Waffle House, issued the following statement to KDVR on Tuesday:
“We are relieved to hear that Aurora police have made an arrest for this terrible crime, and greatly appreciate the diligence of local law enforcement. This case involves a senseless act of violence that should not be tolerated in any community. We are very thankful that neither of our associates who were working when the incident occurred, suffered any life-threatening injuries. Our thoughts and well wishes remain with our associate who was injured and now is recovering at home.”
The city of Aurora does not have a mandate for wearing masks or face coverings in public places. Masks are required in public areas of some other communities across the Denver metro area.
The Tri-County Health Department, which covers Aurora, has strongly advised wearing face coverings in public places.