A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after opening fire on a Waffle House employee who told him he needed to wear a mask, authorities in Colorado said.
He was arrested Monday. The attack happened early Friday at a restaurant in the Denver suburb of Aurora, police said in a statement. Officers responding to a report of a fight and possible shooting found the employee with a gunshot wound, the Aurora Police Department said.
“The victim was transported to the hospital and is recovering from his injury,” police said.
Television station KVDR in Denver obtained information from an arrest affidavit that alleges the suspect, 27-year-old Kelvin Watson, attempted to purchase takeout food when he was told by a cook that he could not order without a mask.
The suspect allegedly returned later that night with a mask, which he was not wearing, and was again turned away by the same cook. He then placed a gun on the counter and threatened to “blow your brains out,” according to the report.
KVDR cited the affidavit in reporting that he returned Friday, was rejected a third time and slapped the cook before opening fire.
The victim was running when he was shot in the chest or abdomen, the report says.
On May 8, the region’s stay-at-home orders were allowed to expire, and Aurora-area residents defaulted to state rules, which encourage residents to “wear a face covering or mask when you leave your home.”
Waffle House was open for takeout and delivery only.
“We are deeply saddened and regret that this senseless act of violence occurred,” Waffle House spokesperson Njeri Boss said.
Watson is being prosecuted by the local district attorney’s office, police spokesman Lt. Chris Amsler said by email.