A group of diners angry that their food was taking too long shot and killed a cook in California in what police are calling “a random dispute that went tragically wrong.”
The cook, 38-year-old Raul Lopez, was working one of his two jobs he has to support his wife and five children. The killing took place at Hoagies Wings on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and followed a dispute with racial undertones, CBS Los Angeles reported.
Lopez was fatally shot in his chest when he tried to ward off five black men who were causing a disturbance in the restaurant, CBS reported. The men were angry at home long they had been waiting for their food and allegedly began using racial slurs at employees, causing other customers to leave, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Homicide detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department said Lopez then stepped in to defend the employees and get the men to leave. As the argument escalated he picked up a chair and led them out, but once outside he set the chair down and one of the men pulled out a semi-automatic weapon, shooting Lopez in the chest.
The men fled in a dark-colored Cadillac Escalade and Lopez was taken to a hospital, where he died a short time later. Police said the suspects are African-American men in their 30s and have the build of football players—several are between 6-foot-2 and 6-foot-4 and weight more than 300 pounds.
Police have released surveillance footage of the shooting in the hope that someone with information can come forward. Lopez’s wife and children also appealed to the public for help finding the suspects.
“He was a very responsible man. He loved his family,” said 16-year-old Melesio Lopez, the oldest of Lopez’s children, at a press conference. “I just want justice.”
Video of the cook’s shooting suspects: