A Little Ceasars employee came under attack from a man wearing a clown mask who beat and tried to stab him, but the employee was able to end the attack by shooting the masked man with a concealed handgun.
The incident happened in Florida, where police say the mask-wearing man pounced on Heriberto Feliciano as he was leaving the store on Saturday night following closing. A report from WFLA noted that the attacker hit the employee with a wooden post, beating the man until the post broke. He then tried to stab the employee with a pair of scissors.
The attack victim was able to pull his concealed handgun, shooting the attacker multiple times at close range. By the time police arrived to find the man lying unconscious in the restaurant parking lot, he was still wearing the clown mask and had the scissors nearby, WFLA reported. He was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead.
The beginning of the attack was caught on the store’s surveillance camera, but it did not capture the shooting itself, the Metro reported. After the shooting, police said they were relieved that Heriberto Feliciano was able to escape the attack with his life.
“I’m glad that he was able to defend himself and that he’s okay,” said Holly Hill Police Chief Steve Aldrich. “It’s just unfortunate that this whole episode occurred.”
The attack was close to the area of Florida where in 2016 there were a series of “clown sightings,” where people donned clown masks to scare onlookers. The incidents took place in the weeks leading up to Halloween, and police said they believed that the intent was to cause fear.
“The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office and Miami police have issued public service announcements to address the problem, emphasizing that donning a clown mask with the intent to harm or disturb others could lead to an arrest,” the Sun-Sentinel reported in 2016. “The Broward Sheriff’s Office is also advising the community to avoid dressing as a clown on Halloween.”
There was no evidence that the man wearing a clown mask who attacked the Little Caesars employee was in any way related to the spate of clown sightings, which tapered off in the weeks after Halloween 2016.
Police did not release a motive for the attack, and they have not released the name of the clown mask-wearing attacker. The Little Ceasars employee who fatally shot the attacker will not face charges, police said.