Waffle House Shooting Leaves Server Dead After Argument Over Restaurant’s Smoking Policy

A shooting inside a Biloxi, Mississippi Waffle House left one employee dead. The shooting occurred around 1 a.m. Friday morning just after a Waffle House server asked a customer to put out a cigarette.

In a previous Inquisitr report, the suspect in the Waffle House shooting was identified as Johnny Max Mount, 45, of Biloxi. The name of 52-year-old female victim has not yet been released pending family notification.

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Near the Mississippi Coast Coliseum on Highway 90, Mount entered a Waffle House restaurant. According to witnesses, Mount began arguing with a waitress, only identified as “Julie,” over the restaurant’s no smoking policy.

Immediately after the dispute, Mount pulled out a 9 mm handgun hidden under his shirt and shot the employee point blank in the head. The server was quickly transported to Merit Health Biloxi where she later died.

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According to a Sun Herald report, Mount was arrested just outside the Waffle House. He is in custody at the Harrison County jail, accused of first-degree murder. His bond is set at $2 million.

“The suspect was arrested on the scene. When officers arrived, he was still on scene and was taken into custody,” said Sgt. Donnie Dobbs of the Biloxi Police Department.

John Lestrade was at the Biloxi restaurant when the shooting occurred and questions if the smoking ban is the cause.

“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.”

KAIT 8 reports that some Waffle House locations do allow smoking inside, yet this one does not. The restaurant chain does have a company-wide ban on firearms, unless you are an active member of law enforcement or the military.

Pat Warner, vice president of Waffle House’s headquarters in Atlanta, was shocked by the tragedy. According to Warner, the server was with the company for the last eight years and she was loved by both customers and co-workers.

As soon as the news of the shooting reached the corporate office, several employees rushed to Biloxi to help out. Associates who work at the Gulf Coast location were given the option to stay home if they wished.

“We have lined up some grief counseling for the employees as well,” Warner said. “We are going to help the employees any way we can. We are giving them space right now.”

Outraged over the shooting, many people expressed their emotions via social media.

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Local resident, Rebecca Berry, said she knows Johnny Mount and his family. She commented that Mount is not really a bad person, but suffered a traumatic brain injury several years ago. She thinks maybe that is why he “just snapped” and reacted so violently.

Berry heard the news of the shooting later on Friday while shopping and was stunned that she knew the name of the perpetrator. She spoke with Mount family members, including Johnny’s mother, and they are distraught over the incident.

Coincidentally, Berry was with her family the day before on Thanksgiving Day at the Waffle House where the shooting happened. She said “Julie” happened to be their server and they engaged in an upbeat conversation about holiday shopping.

Although shootings like this do not happen very often at Waffle House, Biloxi police have experienced them in the past.

Gunfire erupted at a different South Mississippi Waffle House in May of 2013. A man walked into the restaurant on Reynoir St in Biloxi and got into an altercation with two other men. A gun was pulled out and aimed at one of them. A shot rang out after the man was tackled to the ground by another customer. Fortunately, no one was hurt or killed during the incident.

After the shooting on Friday, the Waffle House on Highway 90 was closed for several hours while investigators gathered evidence. Biloxi police are still investigating the incident, however, the restaurant has since opened back up and is again serving customers.

[Image via Rob Wilson/Shutterstock]