Burger King Customer Dies After Being Punched In Face By Employee

Earlier today, a fight broke out between an employee at a Detroit Burger King and a 67-year-old customer. In the end, one man was behind bars and the other was dead.

According to the Detroit News:

During the fight, the worker delivered a punch that may have caused the man to choke on his dentures, police said. The unidentified victim died at a hospital.

“The victim fell to the floor,” a police sergeant said. “He was conveyed to a hospital and pronounced dead.”

Police say it’s not yet clear what caused the fight to break out in the first place. A rep for BK says the company is cooperating with authorities in the investigation.

Senior dies after fight with employee at east side Burger King [Detroit News]


Edit Your Comment

  1. RandomMutterings says:

    Holiday spirit, indeed. Horrifying.

  2. BIGBLOCK472 says:


    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Your job as a paid employee is to avoid confrontation. If a patron is that troublesome you should’ve called the police. You are not there to play bouncer. Again you are being paid to keep cool. Even if the man threw a punch being an employee you should focus on avoiding rather than pursuing retaliatory action.

      Did the old man land a punch, did it cause injury. If this was a slow escalation to physical violence I blame the employee and BK for not knowing when to back off or back down and turn it over to the police. How close was the employee getting to customer that he could take a swing at him? You literally should know when to back off.

    • runswithscissors says:

      +1000 for the MadTV reference. :)

    • DowneMixedBoi says:

      Bon Qui Qui…..

  3. ajkilroy24 says:

    he probably didnt have the required coups to get in

  4. ZenMasterKel says:

    Let’s count the red flags in this story: (1) Detroit; (2) Burger King; (3) Punch; (4) Choke on Dentures; (5) Unitentified victim.

    Whenever a story has any combination of those red flags, you know it’s not going to end well.

  5. Bativac says:

    Damn. Why would a 20 year old punch a 67 year old in the face?

    What a terrible story. I can’t think of anything that would happen in a Burger King worth fighting over, let alone dying.

    • slim150 says:


    • ehrgeiz says:

      I am going to assume he was “feeling” the holiday spirit like the rest of everyone else and being a pure asshole to the employee. Could be wrong but most people I’ve talked to lately have been acting this way.

      • Bativac says:

        Yeah, but I’ve worked crappy service jobs and been treated like shit, and I never punched anybody. Neither has anybody else I’ve ever known. The worst I’ve done is raised my voice. I mean, it’s an argument over a little money or a food product. Not worth hitting some older guy in the face.

        If somebody is breaking into my house or threatening my family or something, then it’s time to resort to violence. But an argument in a Burger King?

    • obits3 says:

      Check out the link. It seems that the 67 year old “tried to hit the employee” first. While it may seem wrong for this 20 year old to hit a 67 year, we have time to reason. Try to put yourself in the employee’s shoes. I know that I have very fast almost uncontrollable reaction time where there have been times that people have came up to suprise me and before I can think, I throw a punch/elbow/kick etc… If somebody tried to punch me, I might just counter punch as a gut reaction.

      • donkeydonkeypublicbathroom says:

        Did you get your degree from ninja school? I think you need to lay off the caffine and learn to control your flailing arms. No doubt your friends will appreciate not being judy-chopped by you everytime they wave “hello”.

        • obits3 says:

          It has only happened a few times. Think about it this way: all you see is a guy trying to punch you. How do I know that he doesn’t have a knife or who knows what? Without seeing the tape, it looks like proportional force to me (Old man throws a punch, employee counters with a punch).

        • Winfield says:

          Thank you for making me laugh out loud on a Friday morning. Awesome.

        • dg says:

          You don’t have to go to Ninja school to defend yourself reflexively. I was at a party once, a fight breaks out across the room. I’m watching it, and out of the corner of my eye – see a broken beer bottle coming at my face so I turned and punched the person right in the mouth before they could cut me.

          There’s some 67 yr olds that don’t look it and are in very good shape. If one of them tried punching me – I’d punch them right in the mouth too. Or what if the guy had a cane and was swinging?

          We don’ t have all the facts – the story was very light on them.

          Telling people they can’t defend themselves against an attack because they’re an employee of such and such is bullshit.

  6. XxSuntoucherxX says:

    In retail you generally have to remember a couple of things to maintain your sanity.

    1. It’s only ________ (Burgers, lattes, furniture, pants etc.) and therefore not worth getting pissed over no matter how much the customer sucks.

    2. If you must act on something, consider if it’s worth either going to Jail and or losing your job over. As in, before you steal, are you stealing enough to support your family the 5-7 years you’ll be in Jail?

    • crazedhare says:

      I think it’s interesting that here we have the worker literally killing the customer, and your comment goes to how much the customer sucks. The article gives no impression either way.

      • Chest Rockwell says:


      • XxSuntoucherxX says:

        My God. Instead of getting your news from an edited down, blog ready, snippet of a news story, take the time and do some research beyond Consumerist. Any variety of outlets are showing that there was an altercation between the two people. Direct your one-sided energy there Instead of jumping at the bit to prove your message board comment superiority.

        • crazedhare says:

          Right. I clicked through and read the article. Like you say – there was an altercation between two people. Two of them – a customer, and a worker. During which the worker KILLED THE CUSTOMER.

          Every word makes you sound more like a disgruntled, bitter retail slave. ‘My god’ indeed.

          • bsh0544 says:

            It’s not as though that was his clear intent. It isn’t as though he stabbed the customer in the throat out of the blue. He was attacked, fought back, and landed what I’d call an improbable hit.

            • crazedhare says:

              Yeah, you can defend him if you want – totally your right. I reject the notion that in a situation where one person kills another, it’s the dead victim that “sucks”.

              (Unless you want to make an argument that everyone sucks. I’ll buy that, but that wasn’t the intent of the frothing commenter to whom I was responding.)

              • regis-s says:

                No the dead person doesn’t automatically suck. The dead person isn’t automatically an innocent victim either.

              • George4478 says:

                Not big on self-defense then, are you? I can think of many situations where the dead guy sucked or got what he deserved or was in the wrong.

                In this case, if the customer punched the clerk and the clerk punched back — well, the customer escalated to physical violence. He chose poorly.

              • OSAM says:

                It’s called “Self Defense” and is an accepted defense in most states.

                • crazedhare says:

                  We’ll see. I can’t imagine a 20 year old killing a senior citizen is going to pass for that. Just like it wouldn’t pass if I killed the next toddler who gets handsy. But if I do, I’ll be sure to call on you as a witness lol.

                • Doubts42 says:

                  That is a total BS comparison. The so called victim was 67 years old. yes that means he was probably slower and more fragile than the 20 year old. It also means he has had 47 more years to learn how to be a fracking human and not go around starting fights. he has also had 67 years to figure out that if you do start fights with people who are faster and stronger than you you are going to get hurt.
                  The old guy didn’t deserve to die, bu then again the kid didn’t mean to kill him.

              • wastedlife says:

                So if someone throws a punch at you, you are just supposed to sit and take it? This was a fist-fight started by the customer (at least he was the one that threw the first punch, it is possible that the worker had provoked the man into starting the fight). Unfortunately, the worker hit the customer in a way that killed him. If someone acts shitty and it gets them killed, it doesn’t excuse the shitty behavior.

              • partofme says:

                Generally, it’s good to make judgments based on facts and the situation… not on the outcome. Which is why a couple of bankers recently walked free from their prosecution. The judge realized that “you guys went broke and it hurt people” isn’t a crime. The outcome, however terrible, is not the sole arbiter of guilt. I’m not saying the kid wasn’t at fault, but had the exact same set of facts happened with the exception of the old man dying, would you change your tune? If so, I think you’re basing your decision on faulty premises.

                • crazedhare says:

                  No, generally, I think 20 year olds who throw punches at senior citizens or children, or say, paraplegics in a wheelchair, are pretty much scum. Even if their victims don’t die.

                  • trencherman says:

                    I agree. Assuming the 67 year old attacked, all the 20 year old would have to do is run away, and call the police. Throwing a punch is NOT a defensive maneuver–it’s offense.

            • maubs says:

              I think we used to call that a Critical Hit. Rolled a 20, indeed.

  7. mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

    “Your Honor, I swear I heard him ask for a ‘knuckle sandwich’ and our company slogan is ‘Have It Your Way.'”

  8. MDSasquatch says:

    What ever happened to “Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us……”

  9. frak says:

    But are they “taking it seriously”?

  10. FatLynn says:

    Hard to afford a defense lawyer on minimum wage.

  11. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    home of the whopper.

  12. dragonfire81 says:


    • ReaperRob says:

      At least, maybe second-degree murder

      • Darkrose says:

        Nah, not 2nd degree. 2nd degree murder is a murder that occurs during the commission of another felony. They only way this might be charged as second degree murder is he committed felony assault which is usually assault with some kind of weapon.

        • ReaperRob says:

          Then what is it if it’s murder, but not pre-meditated?

          • Gramin says:

            This would be involuntary manslaughter. There was no intent to kill, it just happened when he punched him.

          • Darkrose says:

            Murder 1: Pre-meditated (even if it was premeditated an instant before), must show both intent and malice (in most jurisdictions).
            Murder 2: Generally occurs during the commission of a felony (eg: guy was robbing the BK, shot the clerk).
            Murder 3: Usually equals manslaughter but in some jurisdictions can mean the same as second degree murder.

        • BeyondtheTech says:

          And in this case, the weapon would be his dentures. Boy, I like thinking like a defense lawyer!

      • Gramin says:

        Not murder at all. Murder requires malice aforethought, which this isn’t. This is just a case of a poor decision and awful, unplanned effects. Involuntary manslaughter will be the charge.

    • andyg8180 says:

      can’t have manslaughter without laughter…

    • OSAM says:

      And, provided the video evidence shows the old man struck first, an instantaneous self defense defense. Case closed.

  13. FarkonGnome says:

    Now, now, lay off Detroit. Them people is living in Mad Max times.
    (Sadly, I’m from Michigan so it’s OK for me to say that)

  14. theblackdog says:

    Anyone read the advertisement for the Whopper in that picture?

    “More than that, we made the Whopper a nutritionally balanced meal — a meat-salad-vegetable combination that is as nourishing as it is tasty”

    It sounds like something I would hear on Mad Men. “It’s Toasted” *laughs*

  15. Buckus says:

    He must have wanted it his way, but the employee was having none of that

  16. Ted3 says:

    Detroit..That says it all

  17. Cameraman says:

    Oh, my. Punched an old man in the face so hard he choked on his dentures and died. This guy is going to be the king of prison.

    Sad, sad, sad.

  18. Scoobatz says:

    What an outrageous, inappropriate display of behavior by the employee. I can’t imagine how any experience of buying a Whopper could be bad enough to warrant violence. I will assume the employee will be fired, possibly sued, and arrested. And, he deserves to be.

    Of course, one has to wonder how much of a douchebag that customer really was.

    • madanthony says:

      The customer was enough of a douchebag to try to punch the employee. Depending on the situation, I would say that actually does justify the employee hitting back in self-defense. I think the line for good customer service ends at allowing the customer to injure you.

  19. Cicadymn says:

    He wanted it his way.

    And he paid the ultimate price.

    On a similar note I am now going to burger king for lunch.

    • SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

      keep your hands up during the entire ordering process

  20. jesirose says:

    It says a fight broke out – it doesn’t say the EMPLOYEE threw the first punch. Yes, he landed an awful one. But where does it say he was unprovoked physically? He could have been the victim of the assault at first, then just been BETTER at punching.

    This is an awful story, but everyone saying he shouldn’t have punched the customer – what if a customer was throwing punches at you? You’re just going to stand there? Most men would throw one back, admit it.

    • babyruthless says:

      Police spokeswoman Yvette Walker says the older man was reportedly causing a disturbance and tried to hit the employee, and the employee swung back.

      Sounds like you might be right.

    • obits3 says:

      Here you go:

      “Police spokeswoman Yvette Walker says the older man was reportedly causing a disturbance and tried to hit the employee, and the employee swung back.”

      Hmm… I would like to see the tape, but as absurd as this sounds, the employee might have been in the right (even if this ended in death). My rule of thumb:

      Don’t pick a fight unless you are willing to get hit back.

      • SonarTech52 says:

        He shoulda been bobbin and weavin..

        • obits3 says:

          True, but seeing as this employee was not trained to act that way, a reasonable person would strike back. It’s not like the empoyee grabbed an object, thought about it and killed the guy. This was a gut reaction to having a punch come at you.

          • SonarTech52 says:

            Oh I agree with you, I would have a punch coming right back before realizing who is swinging at/hitting me.

            The old guy having throw the first punch, should have assumed one was coming back and should have been bobbin and weavin.

          • Gramin says:

            He’s still responsible for the man’s death. You can only respond with deadly force if your life is being threatened. He’s not going to get a walk. They’ll charge him with involuntary manslaugther and he’ll probably get a deal with a few months in jail and tons of community service.

          • Gramin says:

            I’m sorry, but I hardly believe a person’s gut reaction is to punch back. Yes, there are a few that will immediately punch back, but I doubt those people are in the majority. There might be a few more if you’re walking alone down a dark street, but in the middle of a restaurant, most people aren’t going to hit back. You’re just wrong on that.

      • Miss Emeryn says:


        When I worked at a movie theater, a customer grabbed me by the arm, yanked me around, and slapped me. Hard. It broke two brackets on my braces and my mouth was bleeding. Because I would not let seat himself early- a kid had puked during the previous showing, and we needed to clean it before we let anyone in.

        Without thinking, I punched him in the jaw and smashed his foot with my broom handle.

        Do not start a fight you are unprepared to have finished.

    • minjche says:

      If a 67-year-old man is throwing punches, I’d probably just go defense and end the altercation ASAP.

      But then again I’m not a 20-year-old idiot from Detroit.

      • BomanTheBear says:

        Problem is that old people can still fuck you up. To play devil’s advocate, what if the old dude was an ex-green beret golden gloves boxer? I bring that up not as an outlandish situation, but because I saw an episode of The Smoking Gun where these two punks try to mug an old guy with exactly those qualifications, and he beat them both retarded. I don’t put it past anyone to be more capable of a fighter than they look.

        • minjche says:

          If the dude were an ex-green beret, it wouldn’t matter much whether I played offense or defense in the situation.

          I’m not not a knee-jerk “react with force” kind of person.

          • BomanTheBear says:

            Fair enough. I was just more thinking that old people can beat more ass than society tends to remember.

            • minjche says:

              Yeah true. Just look at “epic beard man”. Whenever he comes around, someone’s gotta call an amberlamps.

  21. SecretShopper: pours out a lil' liquor for the homies Wasp & Otter says:

    is it wrong that as soon as I read the headline I immediately heard Rob Riggle (as the cop in The Hangover) yelling “in the face!” ?

  22. majortom1981 says:

    The old guy swong first. so they guy defended himself and swung back.

    I do not want to hear the old guy was 67 . Well sylvester stallone is 64 and would you use that excuse on him if he punched you ?

    • obits3 says:

      Right. No reasonable person should be expected to know the 67 year old’s fitness level when being attached. Also, how was the employee supposed to know that this guy was 67? Did he see his ID? If a little kid punches you, you know that it will be with tiny force, but you cannot have the same certainty with a grown person.

    • Spiro_Agnew says:

      Plus, Stallone got tougher as he got older. He lost in Rocky, but he kicked ass in Rocky 2.
      In Rocky VIII he won the war in Afghanistan with nothing but athletic tape, satin shorts, and a droopy bottom lip.

  23. Intheknow says:

    Just incredible. Who ARE these horrifically violent people? Must be subhuman to say the least.

  24. stock2mal says:

    When I was 18 I worked at a fast food restaurant. We had a guy about this age who would come in from time to time, real dick, liked to drink a lot. He would have his wife in tow all the time, who always had bruises. One day I was waiting on him and he started yelling at me because other customers had gotten their food first even though he ordered before them. He didn’t consider the fact that his food was in the fryer and the other customers had ordered different items. Attempted to calm him down, he starts yelling that he is going to kick my ass and fuck me up. Tried to ignore him, he reaches across the counter and grabs me near my neck. At this point I had had enough, broke away and started heading toward the door to the lobby. It took 3 other employees to physically restrain me, I would have fucked that old bastard up and he would have deserved every bit of it. Unfortunately, because I was restrained and couldn’t give him what he deserved, I am sure he went home and took it out on his wife.

    • obits3 says:

      This. Anyone who would try to punch a BK employee is a low life who needs to be taught a lesson.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        yea, see my post below. Abusive customers… I worked in a factory cafeteria where workers abused me every chance they could, because I was “beneath them”. Never mind they were ignorant sobs that got their jobs thru friends, relatives, or affirmative action programs. They work on an assembly line putting screw #37 in copier paper tray #3. I assembled 3 meals a day for 500 people. SO superior, aren’t they?

        Thats why most of those people got laid off when profits took a dive – and have yet to find a job that pays so much for doing so little. I hope the nastiest ones got a nice job at a fast food joint.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          I did that exact same job for four years. I was lucky though; most of the people at the factory were pretty nice. It kind of made up for the fact that the job sucked so much.

  25. u1itn0w2day says:

    Sad, TOTALLY un necessary, condolences to customers family.

    But this is a perfect example of the lack of customer service and training. And what I mean by that is while in uniform on duty as an employee paid to provide customer service it IS YOUR job to stay cool, be as courteous and calm at all time no matter what the circumstances. In self defense only should an employee engage a member of the public in physical confrontation. Part of being paid as a customer service representative of anykind for anyone is to remain cool. You are there to help prevent a physical confrontation by providing good customer service. If you have enemys your current feud stays outside the door.

    CSRs today are far too unprofessional, discourteous, confrontational and/or easily agitated-all the things they are paid NOT to be. But does someone actually tell these people these things???

    • madanthony says:

      the article implies the customer swung first. I think there are limits to how calm and collected a minimum-wage employee should be expected to remain when threatened with physical violence. Should he have just stood there while the guy kept hitting him? Is there a number of times he should let himself get hit before he’s allowed to hit back?

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        DEFENSE only, MAYBE one punch JUST to stop the assault. But what the heck was the employee doing close enough to the customer that he was able to swing at him. If you are arguing with someone in close quarters it could very easily escalate to physical violence because a person’s physical space in jeopardy. Your job as employee especially is to take any measures as to avoid a direct confrontation and hopefully de-escalate the situation.

  26. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Not to defend the BK worker, but a lotta customers do treat fast food workers as servants, or worse, punching bags.

    My 16 YO daughter’s 2nd day at BK, some woman had a shit fit because apple juice in a kids meal cost a few cents extra. She launched into a tirade, dropping multiple F-bombs and calling her manager a bitch when she politely asked het to stop talking like that to her – “I can talk to you any F-ing way I want” She grabbed her crying 5 year old by the hand and dragged him out, swearing all the way. Nice way to be an adult.

    Do people really need to act like this over a few cents?

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Treatment and perception of service employees is definately an issue. PART of the problem is that management must tell the employees some customers don’t treat you that great. But the employee can help create a more professional and friendly atmosphere. That includes not acting like you’re at home laughing & joking with your friends. You have to make a rude customer standout like a sore thumb simply by not going into the gutter with them.

      And if you do have a problem with management or the customers you don’t do things like spit in food. You file complaints, unionize, quit or speak to management about customer issues. I think the problem today is that so many are over/underpaid in jobs they can’t stand to begin with. This is why people lie and callout sick, this why employee lie to both the customer & management, this is why quality sucks but when you have an employer/company & employee in pursuit of the almighty dollar this is what happens.

  27. Mcshonky says:

    Looks like self defense.
    Old guy causing disturbance + first swing = choke on teeth.

  28. fortymegafonzies says:

    You know what I sometimes find strange is that we hold our minimum wage service workers to a higher standard than our police in many cases. If a cop throws a punch inappropriately in the heat of the moment, he may get some discipline, but pretty much gets a pass. But some guy working at BK throws a punch, even after being attacked (you have a duty to retreat in MI), and he’ll probably pretty much have the rest of his life ruined …either by going to prison for a long time, or by just having a felony conviction which will relegate to him living under the feet of society.

  29. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Next time he won’t be so demanding about that senior discount.

  30. Holybalheadedchrist! says:

    Usually they die from the whoppers. Weird.

  31. dush says:

    So it’s not just the BK food that kills.

  32. goldilockz says:

    Whoppers are serious business.

  33. stevied says:

    There is never a good reason to punch anybody, but lets get all the facts before we assume one person is quity of killing another.

  34. njack says:

    Nice holiday gift facing a murder or manslaughter charge.

  35. yessongs says:

    EWWWW How would you like to go to your maker with Burger King food still in your mouth?

  36. Joseph S Ragman says:

    Just to let everyone here know: It is ILLEGAL to DEFEND yourself in the State of Michigan … As soon as you enter the state, anyone who wants to is legally allowed to beat the shit out of you, and there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT.

    Deal with it … I have to … A “security” guard beat my ass in my place of employment, and I was arrested for assault … go figure.

    Disclaimer: I work at a large “University” in the state of “Michigan.” I am not allowed to say which one …

    • gman863 says:

      This is yet another reason why (besides the crappy weather and the UAW destroying the American auto industry) Michigan’s economy resembles a shriveled turd floating in the Great Lakes.

      Although not Dirty Harry, I am SHOCKED at any state with a law against self-defense. If the 67 year old threw the first punch my thought is the BK worker was justified in throwing at least one punch back. If the old fart had the balls to reach across the counter to hit the employee and the employee turned tail; what guarantee was there grandpa wasn’t also packing a gun to finish the job as the clerk ran away?

  37. cecilsaxon says:

    Quick, somebody call the amberlance!

  38. Acolyte says:

    FATALITY!!!!!!!!!!! Burger King Wins…..

  39. botulismo says:

    If you read the article, it clearly says:

    Police spokeswoman Yvette Walker says Cannon was reportedly causing a disturbance and tried to hit the employee, and the employee swung back. Cannon died at a hospital.

    People keep saying “If the customer swung first.” Well, he did.

    If someone hit you, are you really going to lie and say you’d sit there and take it? To a lot of people, hitting someone back is simply an instinctual reaction. It’s certainly not something that you should be charged with murder or manslaughter for. It’s simply an unfortunate accident.

    And don’t say “professionalism dictates that he not respond” – that is asking that someone has given up on life so much that they have become their job, and most people can’t do that, especially at near minimum wage retail. A lot of people seem to think that low-level retail employees are perfectly good punching bags for verbal abuse. This guy obviously thought they could be more. You should never yell at an employee who is doing the most work, getting the least paid, and having the least power in a company. Even if you are supremely selfish, they simply don’t have the power to change things, even for you.

  40. Spiro_Agnew says:

    I need a bam-u-lamps!

  41. jaxco says:

    Alright so I work for the company that owns this BK, V&J Foods, but at a different BK, in Southfield, which is several miles north of Detroit. I heard that the man was drunk and was making a ruckus. He was asked to leave many times but he was belligerent and tried to hit the employee or something like that, the employee punched him in the chest, he had a heart attack, and died. I don’t know how true the last part is, but I believe the drunk and belligerent part.