Newly released information in the case of a 22-year-old Orlando Burger King employee who was murdered on August 1 after a dispute over a long wait time at the drive-thru says the events leading up to the killing involved a mother, a father and their 13-year-old daughter.
Heavy first reported the story on August 3. At that time, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office would only release limited information and had only made one arrest. That arrest was of 37-year-old Kelvis Rodriguez-Tormes, who witnesses said shot and killed Desmond Joshua Jr. after his wife, Ashley Mason, called him from the drive-thru to tell him she had waited too long for the food she’d ordered and had an altercation with the staff. Rodriguez-Tormes never waited for the food and only came looking for a fight in defense of his wife, according to his arrest affidavit.
Initially, the sheriff’s office said Rodriguez-Tormes showed up to fight Joshua, and after the fight was broken up, Rodriguez-Tormes shot Joshua in the chest, killing him. Most of the details were redacted early in the investigation.
Days later, and with more witnesses interviewed, the story unfolds as a family affair in which a 13-year-old daughter was not only present but was part of the spectacle that took place before the father arrived. Later she was told to hand the gun to her mother that subsequently killed Joshua, according to Ashley Mason’s arrest report.
Now a teen’s parents are both facing first-degree murder charges and a young man dead.
Here is what you need to know:
A 31-Year-Old Mom & Her 13-Year-Old Daughter Got Out of Their Car in a Drive-Thru to Yell & Throw a Drink at the Window Because They Were Mad the Food Was Taking So Long
The situation started when Mason and her 13-year-old daughter were in a Burger King drive-thru and by all witness accounts it was taking a very long time — Mason claimed she’d waited 15 to 20 minutes and was stuck in the line. Finally, she got out of her car and started yelling at the staff and beating on the drive-thru window, and her daughter, a self-described “hothead,” according to her witness statement, joined in by throwing a cup of soda at the drive-through window.
The daughter told police she got angry and believed she could see Joshua “talking mad trash behind the window,” which is why she said she threw the drink, according to the affidavit. She told police she heard Joshua say he was “going to beat her ass.”
One witness said that Joshua “opened the window after the soda hit it and noted how their actions were disrespectful,” according to Mason’s arrest report. That witness said he heard Mason yell through the window, “I’m gonna get my husband to come shoot you! I’m gonna get my husband to come shoot you! You’re gonna have to take it up with my husband!”
The witness said that Joshua said to go get her husband, and the 13-year-old daughter concurred, saying Joshua said to get him and he’d fight him outside.
In Mason’s statement to deputies, she said she felt like the staff was being “disrespectful and unprofessional,” which is why she was angry and called her husband.
Witnesses say that Rodriguez-Tormes showed up and banged on the restaurant door wanting to fight, and Joshua went out front to fight him. Rodriguez-Tormes says Joshua hit him four times in the head before the 37-year-old was able to get the 22-year-old in a headlock. That’s when one of the witnesses says he broke up the fight, but accounts of what happened after that vary slightly depending on the witness.
One thing that most witnesses confirmed to police — Rodriguez-Tormes shot Joshua in the chest.
The 13-Year-Old Daughter Said Her Dad Put His Gun in the Car She Was in Before the Fight, but Her Mom Asked Her For It, Saying Rodriguez-Tormes Was Getting ‘Jumped’
The daughter told investigators that when her dad met them at Burger King in his truck, he took his gun out and put it in the Honda Accord she was in with her mother, saying “he didn’t want anything to happen.”
The daughter said she put the gun in the glove compartment, but then Joshua had come out of Burger King after Rodriguez-Tormes demanded they fight, and while the fight was going on Mason asked her daughter for the gun. According to the 13-year-old and other witnesses, Mason pointed the gun in the general direction of other Burger King employees who were outside watching.
The witness who said he broke up the fight told deputies after the men were separated Rodriguez-Tormes went back for his gun, which he got from Mason, and got into the driver’s side of his truck.
Rodriguez-Tormes said Joshua was approaching his truck after jumping on his wife’s car, so he warned him to back off, then shot him.
Other witnesses said it looked like Mason tried to hit Joshua with her car and he jumped on it before approaching the truck. They said when he was shot he was just a few feet away from the driver’s side of the truck but not trying to open the door or get closer to Rodriguez-Tormes while the two were talking. Then Rodriguez-Tormes pulled the trigger.
After the shooting Rodriguez-Tormes and Mason and their daughter sped-off in their respective vehicles, leaving Joshua bleeding in the parking lot.
One witness who’d been waiting outside a nearby U Roll Sushi restaurant said she ran over and held Joshua’s hand while they waited for police and paramedics.
After the Shooting Rodriguez-Tormes Went Home & Ate a Hot Pocket Before Disposing of the Gun
The final family member to get involved was Ashley Mason’s mother, Diane Mason. According to Ashley Mason’s statement, she called her mom when they got home, but Diane Mason told deputies she decided to show up at the house after getting worried when her daughter’s phone kept going to voicemail.
When Diane Mason got to the house she said she found Rodriguez-Tormes eating a Hot Pocket. When he finished his Hot Pocket, Rodriguez-Tormes told detectives, he took his mother-in-law’s car without asking and “destroyed” the gun. Deputies searched the vehicle but did not find the weapon.
Investigators tracked the family down quickly at their home due to so many eye-witnesses and recorded surveillance. After questioning Rodriguez-Tormes and Mason on the night of the shooting they only charged Rodriguez-Tormes with first-degree murder with a firearm, destruction of evidence and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Then a few days later on August 5, Ashley Mason was also charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault with a firearm for her role in Joshua’s death.
There is a GoFundMe set up to help Joshua’s family in their time of grief.
According to the page, “Desmond was a bright young man just beginning to explore the world and his potential. He was a son, brother, uncle, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend. He was loved and cherished by many.”