May 24, 2021 - News

Tampa Dunkin' manager charged with manslaughter in death of customer

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren's office released a detailed chronological account of a May 4 incident now receiving national attention and scrutiny.

What happened: Corey Pujols was working as manager at the Dunkin' on South 50th Street in Tampa when a regular customer began verbally berating the staff because he was upset about service in the drive-thru line.

Then, per the state attorney's office:

  • Staff told the 77-year-old customer to leave several times, but the man parked his car and entered the store.
  • Pujols told a coworker to call police.
  • The customer approached the counter and continued to argue with Pujols, who remained on the opposite side of the counter, separated by a waist-high swinging door, some six feet from the customer.
  • The customer called Pujols a racial slur. Pujols slowly walked forward through the swinging door and stood face-to-face with the man, with his hands at his sides, and warned the man not to say that again.
  • The man repeated the slur, and Pujols punched him in the jaw, which caused the victim to fall and hit his head. Pujols then slowly walked away.
  • The man died three days later in the hospital.

The state attorney charged Pujols with manslaughter; he was originally arrested on a charge of battery on a person older than 65.

  • Manslaughter is intentionally committing an act without lawful justification that causes the death of another person, where the death was not intended.

What they're saying: "The victim’s use of racial slurs was highly inflammatory. Inflammatory speech alone, however, does not justify violence," the SAO said in a statement.

  • "Although the victim’s speech was reprehensible, it was legal. While we find the victim’s words repulsive, public safety requires holding Pujols accountable for his actions."

Editor's note: The photo was removed as our general policy is to not use mugshots.

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