Maryland School Librarian Accused Of Yelling Racial Slur 4711018/ Pixabay

A Dunkin’ employee in Florida is facing charges of manslaughter after the elderly customer he punched in the head on May 4 died a few days later in the hospital. Corey Pujols, 27, was initially arrested on a charge of battery but was released the following day after posting a $2,000 bail.

According to police, Pujols was listed as the manager at the store’s outlet located in the Marathon gas station at 410 S 50th St. south of Lee Roy Selmon Expressway. He threw a single punch to the head of a 77-year-old male customer who allegedly called him a racial slur.

Law enforcers and paramedics were called to the store at around 1:30 pm after the elderly male was rendered unconscious and bleeding from the head. He was rushed to the Tampa General Hospital and placed in the intensive care unit. He later succumbed to his injuries and died on May 7.

The victim, who is not allowed to be publicly identified under the Tampa Police Department’s interpretation of Marsy’s Law, had gone through the store’s drive-thru window and became irate over the service. Employees asked the man to leave but instead, he parked his car and proceeded inside the store to pick an argument with Pujols.

Pujols said the victim was a regular customer at the store and described his attitude towards them that day as “extremely rude”. The man had blurted out a racial slur and Pujols asked him to repeat what he just said and the man uttered the same words. However, the said racial slur was not included in the report.

In response to this, Pujols said he punched the man once in his jaw which caused the victim to fall. Based on surveillance footage from the store, the victim did not lay a hand on Pujol but the video captured the manager’s deathly punch. It also appeared that the man hit the back of his head on the concrete floor after getting punched.

Fox35 Orlando said, autopsy findings showed that the victim suffered a skull fracture and brain contusions as a result of blunt trauma to the head. According to the Hillsborough Medical Examiner’s Office, the man’s death would be ruled as homicide.

A warrant for Pujols’ arrest was obtained by police on charges of aggravated manslaughter of a person older than 65. This is considered a first-degree felony punishable by a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

According to the state attorney's office, the charge is appropriate "because Pujols intentionally punched the victim without legal justification, and the victim died as a result."

They also added that while the man's racial slur was "highly inflammatory," what the victim had said by itself doesn't "justify violence."

Pujols was once again arrested Tuesday at his apartment on West Hillsborough Avenue and is being held without bail.

An emailed statement from a Dunkin’ spokesperson reads: “The franchisee, who independently owns and operates this restaurant, is fully cooperating with the local authorities. As this is an ongoing investigation, we defer any additional questions to the police.”

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