Aurora police arrested 27-year-old Kelvin Disean Watson on May 18 and charged him with attempted first-degree murder after he shot an Aurora Waffle House employee who refused to serve him because he was not wearing a mask, KDVR reported.
One employee was hospitalized for his injuries and has since been released from the hospital, according to a Waffle House spokesperson. The shooting took place shortly after midnight on May 15 amid rising tensions surrounding reopening procedures and safety guidelines in the U.S.
Here’s what you need to know:
Police Say Watson Made Multiple Trips to the Waffle House Before He Opened Fire
According to KDVR, employees told police in an affidavit that Watson went to the Waffle House in the early hours of May 14 but was turned away because he was not wearing a mask. According to the report, Watson returned later that night with a mask that he was not wearing and was again turned away. Police report that after he was turned away a second time, Watson placed a small gun on the counter and told an employee that he could “blow your brains out.”
Watson returned just after midnight the following evening and was again refused service. According to the affidavit, Watson slapped the cook before chasing him outside of the Waffle House and shooting him. Watson was arrested on Monday in Aurora, and he is represented by the Arapahoe County public defender’s office, according to the Colorado Sun.
Minimum I’m gonnna need like 3500 for me to vote for trump.
— Black Trump #Murica (@DiseanWatson) March 17, 2020
Watson, whose profile name on Twitter was “Black Trump #Murica” but has been changed to “marathon runner,” posted online about the coronavirus crisis and government response, tweeting, “Everybody needs to take a deep breath…. this virus ain’t that serious dawg” on March 21 and “Minimum I’m gonna need like 3500 for me to vote for trump” on March 17.
A Waffle House Spokesperson Commended Law Enforcement for the Arrest
The City of Aurora has not issued a mandate requiring residents to wear masks in public, deferring to the Tri-County Health Department, which has strongly encouraged residents to wear masks or face coverings in public. On Tuesday, Njeri Boss, the director of public relations for Waffle House, issued a statement, saying:
We are relieved to hear that Aurora police have made an arrest for this terrible crime, and greatly appreciate the diligence of local law enforcement. This case involves a senseless act of violence that should not be tolerated in any community. We are very thankful that neither of our associates who were working when the incident occurred, suffered any life-threatening injuries. Our thoughts and well wishes remain with our associate who was injured and now is recovering at home.
Waffle House does not allow firearms on its premises, with the exception of law enforcement officers. In 2015, a franchise in Kentucky made headlines when employees asked an armed member of the National Guard to leave his firearm in his vehicle. The request generated an online backlash against Waffle House, prompting the franchise owner to issue a statement explaining that the guardsman had been removed from the diner weeks earlier by off-duty police after getting into a fight on the premises.