A crime as violent as it was senseless was committed earlier today and left one woman dead simply for trying to do her job. At approximately 1 a.m. on Friday morning a Waffle House waitress’ attempt to get a customer to either go outside and smoke or put out the cigarette resulted in that customer drawing a gun on her and shooting her in the head.
The Waffle House in question is located in Biloxi, Mississippi. Police have yet to release the name of the victim, but a restaurant spokesperson identified her by the first name “Julie.” Reports are that she was a 52-year-old woman who had been with Waffle House for a number of years. The waitress was working the night shift at the Biloxi location when she was shot and killed over a cigarette. Investigators advised that an argument erupted between the employee and a customer when she told him he could not smoke inside. The man, identified as 45-year-old Johnny Mount refused to comply with the waitress’ request and instead of putting out the cigarette the enraged man drew a 9 mm handgun that he had had concealed beneath his shirt.
Mount proceeded to move far beyond threatening the waitress and shot her in the head at point blank range instead. That one shot did not immediately kill the Waffle House employee and she was quickly rushed to the nearby hospital, Merit Health Biloxi. The Harrison County Coroner, Gary Hargrove, advised that the waitress later died as a result of the gunshot wound. Mount apparently stuck around the scene of the crime long enough to be caught by the police. When they arrived the police arrested Mount as he tried to leave the Waffle House.
WLOX spoke to community members of the Biloxi Waffle House on Hwy. 90, near the Coast Coliseum about the senseless murder of the waitress and one long-time customer was still in shock. John Lestrade says he believes that the holiday tension may have played a part in the argument over a cigarette escalating to murder and had some words of caution for all.
“The good, the bad, the ugly of it all is that you know, the individual getting all upset about smoking there’s a lot of tension in the air. You’ve got to practice your attitude. You’ve got to be cautious. Watch how you approach people, watch how they approach you.”
Mere hours after the shooting death of the waitress, the police tape around the Waffle House had been removed and the restaurant was back open for business. For any of their associates that need it, the company is offering free counselling and they have also moved a senior Waffle House manager to that particular branch to offer additional support.
Waffle House officials did also provide a little background about Julie. They advised that the 54-year-old had been with the company for approximately eight years as a salesperson. She had spent the last two years of her career at the Biloxi branch before she was shot and killed Friday morning. Company officials also gave a statement filled with remorse that Julie had been shot.
“This senseless tragedy is a shock for the Waffle House family. Julie was a friend to many as well as a valued member of the Waffle House team. She will be greatly missed. Our prayers are with her family, friends, co-workers and customers.”
It was relayed by Huffington Post that in 2013 a Biloxi Waffle House had a gun go off and shatter its windows. This incident came to a close after customers tackled the suspect, Sam Edward Yu and disposed of his gun. They remain sceptical as to whether or not this was the same Waffle House.
Currently the alleged shooter is being kept at Harrison County Adult Detention Center. Mount will be charged with first degree murder and is held on a $2 million bond.
[Photo Courtesy of Rob Wilson/ Shutterstock]