TAMPA, Fla. – A Dunkin’ employee in Florida is accused of fatally punching a customer who allegedly used a racial slur, authorities said.
Corey Ellis Pujols, 27, of Tampa, was charged with aggravated manslaughter of an elderly or disabled adult with a weapon, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office online booking records.
Pujols is accused of throwing a punch at a 77-year-old man at about 1:30 p.m. May 4, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Police responding to the Dunkin’ store in Tampa found the man unconscious and bleeding, the newspaper reported.
Tampa Police said the man originally tried to order at the drive-thru at the store, WTVT reported. The victim, who has not been identified, allegedly became upset about a lack of service and was asked to leave by staff members, the television station reported.
Instead, he parked his car, went inside the building and began arguing with Pujols, police said.
According to a police report, Pujols told authorities that the man was a regular customer, was “extremely rude” that day and called Pujols a racial slur, the Times reported. Pujols told police he asked the man to repeat what he said. When he did, Pujols punched the man once in the face, causing him to fall and hit his head on the concrete floor, the newspaper reported.
The slur is not included in the police report.
The store’s video surveillance system captured the punch, the Times reported.
Pujols was originally arrested May 4 on a charge of battery on a person older than 65, according to online booking records. He was released the next day after posting $2,000 bail, online records show.
Paramedics took the man to Tampa General Hospital, where he was placed in intensive care, the newspaper reported. He died Friday.
An autopsy showed the man suffered a skull fracture and brain contusion from blunt trauma to the head, the Times reported. The case was ruled a homicide by the Hillsborough Medical Examiner’s Office.
Pujols was arrested later Friday on the upgraded charge of manslaughter, online booking records show.
“We are deeply saddened by the incident at our franchised restaurant in Tampa,” a Dunkin’ spokesperson told the Times in an emailed statement. “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.”
If convicted of the felony charge, Pujols could face up to 30 years in prison, the newspaper reported.
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