“We can’t say she’s mad about that and that’s what started the fight,” Withrow said. “I don’t know what triggered her into the confrontation. That just happened to be the sequence of events.”
But Woody came back in with a handgun and fired three shots, he said.
One round hit an employee in the arm and two other employees were struck by shrapnel, Withrow said. A fourth employee also had a head injury, but it was not immediately clear how she sustained it. The injuries were all not life-threatening, he said.
Woody was arrested near the McDonald’s after the shooting, Withrow said. She is in custody on charges of assault and battery, police said.
Woody did not yet have a lawyer, her mother said in a telephone interview on Thursday. She said that her daughter disputed the police account, saying that she had not been told the dining room was closed. She also said that Woody had tried to place an order and that she was defending herself against employees who attacked her while she took a phone call in the restaurant.
Chris Kempczinski, the chief executive of McDonald’s, said in an interview on Good Morning America on Thursday that the shooting was a “heinous crime” because the employees were trying to protect public health.
“I think what you’re seeing in this situation is really what you’re seeing in a variety of situations across the country, which is this tension about opening and people’s concern about it. But there is absolutely no excuse for violence, particularly gun violence,” he said. “I’m just happy our people are going to be OK.”
While about half of US states have begun to reopen their economies and public life in some meaningful way, social-distancing measures are still common.
The restrictions have, in some cases, generated fierce blowback across the country, despite polls showing a majority of Americans support the measures. Small numbers of people have staged raucous protests demanding social-distancing measures be lifted.
There have also been reports of violence associated with the restrictions. In Flint, Michigan, a security guard at a Family Dollar store was fatally shot last week after an altercation when a customer refused to wear a face covering.
A man pushed a park ranger in Austin, Texas, into a lake last week after the ranger told members of a crowd to stay 1.8 metres apart from one another, The Austin American-Statesman reported. The ranger was speaking to a group of people who were illegally drinking and smoking, according to an arrest affidavit cited by The Statesman.
In Stillwater, Oklahoma, an emergency proclamation mandating face coverings led to so much verbal abuse in its first three hours last week — and a threat involving a gun — that officials amended it. Masks became encouraged, not required.
McDonald’s restaurants have been scenes of violence in the past. In 1984, 21 people were killed at a restaurant in San Diego after a gunman walked in and opened fire.
The New York Times