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.
More Tampa Bay stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Tampa Bay.