A Tampa Dunkin’ Donuts employee is facing an aggravated manslaughter charge after the man he punched for repeatedly calling him a racial slur later died.
Corey Pujols, 27, was originally arrested on a charge of battery on a person older than 65 in connection with the May 5 incident and released the next day on bond, but the charge was upgraded to aggravated manslaughter of a person older than 65 after the 77-year-old died two days later.
When the victim, who has not been identified, went through the drive-thru the Dunkin’ Donuts at 410 South 50th Street earlier this month, was was upset by the service he received.
Employees asked him to leave, but instead the man parked his car and went inside to confront the workers. Inside, he continued to argue with Pujols. Pujols said the man, who was a regular customer, was acting “extremely rude” on the day of the incident, The Tampa Bay Times reported.
The man called Pujols a racial slur that is not specified in the police report, and the employee then challenged him to repeat the word. When the man said the word again, Pujols punched the man in the jaw, knocking him to the floor, where his head hit the floor.
When police and fire crews arrived, the man was unconscious on the floor and bleeding from the head. He was transported to a hospital and died two days later on May 7. An autopsy showed that the man had a skull fracture and brain injuries that resulted from blunt trauma.
Pujols has been held at the Hillsborough County Jail without bond since Tuesday. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and will be appointed a public defender, according to jail records. The case is under investigation by the Tampa Police Department. A doctor at the medical examiner’s office said the man’s death will be ruled a homicide.
On social media, users defended Pujols.
“We are deeply saddened by the incident at our franchised restaurant in Tampa, Florida,” Dunkin’ said in a statement to to The Tampa Times. “The franchisee, who independently owns and operates this restaurant, is fully cooperating with the local authorities. As this is an ongoing investigation, we defer any additional questions to the police.”