By Mark F. Gray, AFRO Staff Writer, [email protected]
The wait for a chicken sandwich turned fatal when a man was stabbed to death at a Popeye’s restaurant in Oxon Hill, MD around 7 p.m. on Nov. 4.
Prince George’s County police said a 28-year-old man died after he was stabbed multiple times while in the parking lot of the restaurant in the 6200 block of Livingston Road in Oxon Hill Plaza. Witnesses have privately said they were unaware the victim had been wounded because the restaurant was more crowded than usual after last weekend’s re-release of the popular sandwich.
According to police, the preliminary investigation reveals the victim was stabbed about 7 p.m. There was an argument which apparently started inside the restaurant when a male patron cut in front of another man in a line set up to accommodate the amount of customers who were there to purchase one of those sandwiches that reappeared on the menu a day earlier. Because of the overwhelming demand, the restaurant designated two separate lines for customers who were interested in specifically purchasing the new menu item.
However, other neighborhood rumors, which haven’t been corroborated by authorities, say the victim may have cut in front of an elderly woman who was in line and was called out by the assailant. The victim’s pushback allegedly moved the incident outside the restaurant and drew to its fatal conclusion.
The argument is believed to have escalated and the confrontation ended outside where the victim was stabbed. When the first responding officers arrived on the scene they found the victim in the parking lot suffering from multiple stab wounds. Officers immediately started lifesaving measures but the victim died 51 minutes later at a local hospital, police said.
“We have been able to determine preliminarily that this is related to the release of the sandwich here at this restaurant, said Jennifer Donelan, spokeswoman for the Prince George’s County Police Department, during a news conference in the restaurant’s parking lot.
“This individual was in line, a line specifically for the sale of the sandwich, when another customer and he got into an altercation.”
Popeyes returned the chicken sandwich to it’s menu on Nov. 3 after it first was released in mid-August which was supposed to be for a limited time only. However, the sandwich’s popularity developed a cult following after social media accounts showing long lines and big crowds made national headlines this past August. The demand was so great, they reportedly sold out its supply by the end of that month, which apparently led to the chain returning it to the menu last weekend.
“Knowing that a life was taken, it is hard to put into words. I can’t find the right words to describe what was done to this innocent victim,” Donelan said. “For you to get that angry over anything, for that type of anger to develop into this type of violence, again, is a very sad and tragic day and that person needs to turn himself in,” she said.
As the investigation continues, authorities are asking for help in resolving the case. Police are asking those with information or anyone who was in the restaurant at the time of the incident to call them at 301-352-1200.