Fast-food restaurants across the country were plagued by violent incidents in 2022 that included shootings, child endangerment, cash registers flying through windows and other mishaps.
4-year-old opens fire on police at Utah McDonald’s
In February, police officers in Utah responded to reports that a suspect had brandished a firearm at a McDonald’s employee in response to an incorrect order.
Officers found and began to detain 27-year-old Sadaat Johnson while his 4-year-old child sat in the backseat of the car.
Bodycam footage shows the moment an officer noticed a gun pointing from the rear window of Johnson’s car, at which point he alerted other officers to the gun and pushed it “to the side as a round was fired.”
He also alerted other officers that the 4-year-old had fired the weapon and a preliminary investigation indicated that the 27-year-old instructed his child to shoot at officers.
“To have an adult think it is okay to encourage a -year-old to pull a firearm and shoot at police illustrates how out of hand the campaign against police has gotten,” Sheriff Rosie Rivera said in a February statement after the incident. “This needs to stop and we need to come together as a community to find solutions to the challenges we face in our neighborhoods. Officers are here to protect and serve and we are beyond belief that something like [this] could happen.”
Johnson was charged with child abuse, aggravated assault and interference with an arresting officer after the incident.
Armed Philadelphia robber yanks cash register through McDonald’s window
Chaos broke out at another McDonald’s location in Philadelphia in November when a robber pointed his gun through the window at a worker and was captured on video yanking the cash register out the window.
“Give me the money,” the armed suspect told the employee when he pulled up in a red SUV around 3:30 a.m. before pulling out the entire cash register.
The suspect and three other people in the car fled the scene.
KFC shooting breaks out over corn shortage
Shots rang out at a St. Louis KFC after a dispute escalated between a customer at the restaurant and an employee over a corn shortage.
Police said a Black man in his 40s attempted to place an order at the drive-thru when an employee told him the restaurant was out of corn.
The suspect then threatened the employee from the speaker box before pulling up to the drive-thru window with a handgun.
A 25-year-old employee then reportedly went out to talk with the driver. When the employee walked back into the restaurant, he had a gunshot wound.
The victim was taken to an area hospital where he was listed in critical but stable condition and the suspect fled the scene.
New York City’s ax man
Customers dining at a McDonald’s on Manhattan’s Lower East Side were traumatized in September when 31-year-old Michael Palacios went on an ax-wielding rampage after getting into an argument with a group of men.
The incident was caught on video and Palacios could be seen smashing a glass partition, waving the ax at petrified customers and exchanging blows with other customers.
The NYPD says Palacios was arrested and charged with criminal mischief, three counts of menacing and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
Palacios was released without bail. He was arrested again for a different crime about a month later and released without bail again.
After being released following the McDonald’s rampage, Palacios told New York Post he is not “unhinged” or a “loose cannon” and claimed he showed “composure” during the chaos.
“Everybody’s talking about how I should be in jail,” Palacios said. “I did my 18 hours, bro. What else do you want? Why do I have to be in jail? I’m not going to make it a race thing just because I’m big and Black.”
Florida man jumps Burger King counter with pliers demanding free food
Last month, a Florida man threatened Burger King employees with a pair of pliers while jumping the counter and demanding free food on Friday, authorities said.
Hubert Credit Jr., 50, entered the fast-food restaurant in Tampa and began stating he wanted free food from workers. When the workers refused, Credit pulled a pair of pliers from his pocket and threatened them, according to authorities.
Surveillance video shows Credit bang the pliers on the counter and knock over one of the cash registers, police said. He can then be seen jumping the service counter where he allegedly made additional threats.
The terrified employees called 911 but also gave free food to Credit due to fear for their safety.
Responding officers arrived and found Credit eating the food inside a stall in the men’s bathroom, police said. Officers ordered Credit to leave the bathroom and arrested him without incident.
Credit was charged with robbery with a deadly weapon.
Cold fries leads to deadly shooting
A New York City McDonald’s employee was shot in the neck following an argument over an order of cold french fries and later died from his injuries earlier this year.
Matthew Webb, 23, of Queens, was shot outside the restaurant by alleged gunman Michael Morgan, 20, after Morgan’s mother got involved in a dispute with the restaurant over her fries being cold.
Morgan’s mother, Lisa Fulmore, claims that the staff laughed at her when she asked to speak to a manager and that her son said he “got to do what he got to do and the [victim] came after him and whatever happened, happened.”
Morgan is facing charges of attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon.
Several large cities across the country witnessed surges in violent crime in 2022, which ultimately spilled into fast-food locations, many of which stay open late in urban areas more impacted by rising crime.
One of those cities was Chicago, and McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempczinski warned in a September speech that rising crime was scaring employees, hurting recruitment and could force the company to reconsider staying in Chicago long term.
“I don’t have to tell you why this matters, you all recognize and understand the statistics,” Kempczinski said. “All of us, every single person in this room has seen the corrosive effect that crime can have on the city, its psyche and its citizens.”