A 23-year-old man is in critical condition after, police say, he was shot while on the job at a McDonald’s in Brooklyn, CBS New York’s Natalie Duddridge and Alecia Reid report.
The shooting happened at around 7 p.m. Monday outside the eatery.
Some of the victim’s colleagues described him as a good guy, and said the shooting left them on edge about going back to work.
“That something could happen like that over something so simple as food, that’s crazy,” one person in the neighborhood said.
“He was working, at work, this happened at work? It’s kind of sad, because he’s trying to make a living,” another person remarked.
It started when a customer, who sources told CBS2 was angry her fries were cold, approached the worker, identified as Matthew Webb, 23, and started arguing with him.
The argument moved outside and that’s when, sources said, the woman called over her 20-year-old son to “take care of the problem.” He then pulled out a gun and shot Webb in the neck.
Webb was rushed to a hospital and the son was taken into custody.
“Cold French fries should not result in a shooting. At the end of the day, it’s gun violence all over this country, particularly in this city, that has to be brought under control, and fast food restaurants are not the safe havens they used to be,” attorney Sanford Rubenstein told Reid.
Rubenstein represents the family of Kristal Nieves, the 19-year-old who was killed in January while working the overnight shift at an East Harlem Burger King. The suspect, who was later arrested, allegedly demanded money, then shot and killed her.
“Her family is not doing well. It’s a tragedy they will never get over,” Rubenstein said.
There have been other attacks against fast food workers this year. In March, an East Harlem McDonald’s employee was stabbed multiple times with a box cutter while trying to break up a fight, and in July, three women violently attacked Bel Fries workers with glass bottles when told extra dipping sauce would cost them less than $2.
“I’m deeply concerned. My children have come to this McDonald’s over the years, and from time to time I have meetings in this McDonald’s,” said Rev. Conrad Tillar. “It’s sad. It shows that we’re in a level of crisis in this city.”
“My daughter wants to work in fast food. She’s 17, and I’m scared of things like that. It’s horrible,” Alison Mason said. “You could be angry and say, ‘Hey, I didn’t get my order right’ — but to shoot someone?”
Duddridge spoke with a man who works at another fast food spot. He said he’s thankful his boss recently installed a glass barrier, but staffers are still scared.
“One of our workers, he called me today, he don’t want to work no more … because of this. They said they’re scared,” Habib Sayed said. “That’s why I don’t want to work at night. I told my boss, if you want to pay me like $100 an hour, I’m not going to work, because it’s crazy.”
Police said there didn’t appear to be any previous connection between the employee and the suspect.
Staff at the McDonald’s said there is security, but the hours were recently scaled back.