Man Shot Dead at Waffle House After Handing Out $20 Bills

Colin Fredericson
By Colin Fredericson
April 9, 2019US News
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Man Shot Dead at Waffle House After Handing Out $20 Bills
A Waffle House in Bayou La Batre, Ala., on Sept. 5, 2018. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A man was shot at a Gainesville, Florida, Waffle House, after he handed out $20 bills and paid for people’s food.

The Alachua County Sheriff said in a statement published on Facebook that a 41-year-old man was shot at around 3 a.m. Ezekiel Luke Hicks was arrested soon after. Police were already in the area responding to a call for crowd control.

The sheriff’s office said that Craig Arttez Brewer was at the restaurant paying for meals and handing out money, when a woman became resentful that he didn’t pay for her meal too, according to The Gainesville Sun. Hicks stepped into the argument and things escalated.

Posted by Alachua County Sheriff on Sunday, April 7, 2019

A 911 caller reported a chaotic, tense scene. She said there were around 30 to 40 people, both inside and outside the Waffle House location, according to audio obtained by The Gainesville Sun.

Hicks then left the restaurant, and returned with a handgun, despite one bystander’s efforts to prevent his return. He then got into a physical fight with the victim before shooting him in the head.

Surveillance video recorded the entire crime and what happened leading up to it. The state attorney’s office is holding it as evidence.

“The evidence in the case is fairly straightforward. We’re working with the state attorney. It’s pretty obvious. We have on video what happened,” Alachua County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Brett Rhodenizer told The Gainesville Sun. “There was at least one gunshot to the head but the medical examiner will offer authoritative information on that.

Police charged 25-year-old Ezekiel Hicks with first-degree, premeditated murder. A 9mm handgun was found at the crime scene.

The shooting coincides with a concert that was taking place nearby, WCJB reported.

“We had several large groups up and down Newberry Road that evening,” said Rhodenizer, via WCJB. “And this group of folks were still there in the Waffle House, refusing to leave, and ultimately that’s when the altercation ensued.”

The officers were already on their way when the situation escalated.

“They feel like they were so close and just far enough away to where they couldn’t change the outcome,” Rhodenizer told ABC News. “This incident went from a verbal altercation to a homicide in minutes, if not seconds.”

“A dude in a green shirt, a really big dude in a green shirt with dreads, came in, shot some dude in the head, and ran away,” said a 911 caller, via more audio obtained by The Gainesville Sun. “There was a bunch of people arguing and talking.”

Posted by Alachua County Sheriff on Sunday, April 7, 2019

The 911 caller is believed to possibly be a Waffle House employee.

“All I know is I turn around, people were fighting, and then he pulled out a gun, and he shot him, and then they all ran,” added the caller. “He just ran out the door and we ran to the back of the Waffle House because we were afraid that we were going to get shot.”

Police do not have a motive for the shooting.

“What we’re trying to find out in the days ahead is if this was truly a verbal argument that turned into a murder case or if there is something missing there,” Rhodenizer told The Gainesville Sun.

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