A man has been arrested for allegedly shooting a Waffle House cook after he was asked to wear a face-covering inside the restaurant.
Kelvin Watson, 27, was taken into custody on a charge of attempted first-degree murder on Monday following the shooting at the restaurant in Aurora, Colorado, a spokesperson for the Aurora Police Department confirmed to Newsweek.
Officers were called to the restaurant, located at 12880 E. Mississippi Ave., shortly after midnight on May 15. They found a Waffle House employee suffering from a gunshot wound a short distance from the restaurant.
“The victim was transported to the hospital and is recovering from his injury,” the spokesperson said.
The arrest affidavit (via KDVR) said the employees claimed that the night before the shooting, Watson had come into the restaurant after midnight without a mask or face-covering on.
A waitress told Watson that he would not be served unless he put a mask on, according to the arrest affidavit.
The waitress told police that Watson returned with a mask, but was still not wearing it. He was again informed that he would not be served unless he wore a mask, but he told the workers to just hand over the food.
The court document said that Watson then pulled out a small silver gun, placed it on the counter and told the cook: “I could blow your brains out right now.”
The next night, Watson returned to the restaurant shortly after midnight.
The same cook from the night before told him he was not going to be served, at which point Watson allegedly slapped the cook in the face, according to the arrest affidavit.
The cook, who was not identified, told police he then started running out the back of the restaurant.
Watson allegedly shot the cook in the chest or abdomen outside the restaurant as the cook was running home, according to CBS Denver. Watson then got into a car and fled the scene.
He was taken into custody on Monday and is being held on a $100,000 bond.
“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,” Waffle House spokesperson Njeri Boss said in a statement provided to Newsweek.
Boss added: “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.”
Waffle House was only offering takeout service at the time of the shooting.
The city of Aurora does not require individuals to wear masks or face-coverings in public places during the coronavirus pandemic, but some communities in the Denver metro area do.
Colorado has more than 22,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 968 deaths, according to the state’s health department. Arapahoe County, which includes Aurora, has more than 3,800 cases.
This graphic, provided by Statista, shows the U.S. states with the most COVID-19 cases as of May 20.