A Dunkin’ Donuts employee has been accused of killing a customer with a single punch after the man called him a racial slur.
Corey Pujols, 27, has been charged with aggravated manslaughter after police claim he fatally punched a 77-year-old customer that allegedly used a racial slur while complaining about the service at the restaurant.
Tampa police said the incident happened around 1:30pm on 4 May.
When law enforcement arrived, they found the elderly man unconscious on the floor and bleeding from his head.
Paramedics transported the man to Tampa General Hospital, where he was placed in intensive care.
The man who was punched fell backwards and slammed his head, according to a police report.
According to the report, the elderly customer first went through the store's drive-thru and was annoyed at the service. He was then asked to leave due to his behavior.
The man reportedly parked his car and entered the restaurant where he confronted Mr Pujols. According to Mr Pujols, who is Black, the customer called him a racial slur.
Mr Pujols then challenged him to say it again. The customer did so, and Mr Pujols allegedly punched him.
According to The Tampa Bay Times, Mr Pujols told police that the customer was a regular and was "extremely rude”.
The Tampa Bay Times viewed surveillance footage of the incident, which appeared to show the man hitting the back of his head when he hit the ground.
An autopsy showed that the man – who was not identified in the report – had a fractured skull and brain contusions.
The man died two days after the incident.
Mr Pujols was initially arrested on a charge of batter on a person over the age of 65. He was released the next day after posting a $2,000 bail.
After the man died, police obtained an arrest warrant on the aggravated manslaughter charges and arrested Mr Pujols on Friday.
His charge is a first-degree felony and carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
Mr Pujols has been appointed a public defender.
A representative from Dunkin Donuts emailed The Tampa Bay Times a statement regarding the incident.
"We are deeply saddened by the incident at our franchised restaurant in Tampa. The franchisee, who independently owns and operates this restaurant, is fully cooperating with the local authorities. As this is an ongoing investigation, we defer any additional questions to the police," the spokesperson said.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies