UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP) — A man who had been cutting in a line for chicken sandwiches at a crowded Popeyes restaurant in Maryland was stabbed to death by another customer who confronted him, police said Tuesday.
Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski appealed for the public's help in identifying the man who fatally stabbed 28-year-old Kevin Tyrell Davis once after their argument spilled outside the Oxon Hill restaurant Monday evening.
Stawinski, who called it a "pointless crime," said only 15 seconds elapsed from when the altercation started to when it ended with the stabbing. Davis had been "methodically" cutting his way through the line for sandwiches for 15 minutes before the suspect confronted him at the front counter, the chief said.
"The question my detectives have to answer is, 'How does a confrontation lead to a homicide in 15 seconds?'" Stawinski told reporters outside a police station in Upper Marlboro. "The family of the individual who was killed is looking for closure. The families and children who were in this restaurant are looking for closure."
Popeyes resumed selling its chicken sandwich on Sunday. It was first released in August, and the chain credited popular demand to its supply selling out that month. Marketing around the sandwich has built a frenzy that's causing long lines and waits at the chain's restaurants. Stawinski said dozens of people were at the restaurant at the time.
A statement from Popeyes said the fast food chain and its Oxon Hill franchisee are cooperating with authorities and "actively working to gather more information."
"What happened in Maryland last night is a tragedy and we are saddened to hear about this senseless act of violence. Our thoughts are with the victim's family and friends," the statement says.
Police released surveillance camera images of the suspect and a woman who apparently was with him inside the restaurant and fled with him in a car after the stabbing. Investigators want to speak with that woman.
"We think she has some pretty vital information to the investigation," said police department spokeswoman Jennifer Donelan.
Stawinski said there is no evidence that the suspect and victim knew each other.
Police found a knife in Davis' possession after the stabbing, but investigators don't believe he brandished it during the confrontation, according to Donelan.
Davis, of Oxon Hill, died at a hospital. He had been stabbed once in the upper body, the police spokeswoman said.
Follow Kunzelman on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/Kunzelman75
This story has been corrected to reflect that only the word "methodically" should be in quotes.