FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A 19-year-old man was arrested Friday, July 29 after firing a gun at a Taco Bell, striking the building, and nearly hitting employees.
According to a preliminary report from the Fayetteville Police Department, on July 28 at approximately 3:06 a.m., officers responded to the Taco Bell at 1147 N. Colorado Dr. for a reported shooting.
Upon arrival, police met with some employees who stated they were standing in the parking lot on a break when two Black males approached them.
One of the males was described as having short dreads and was accompanied by another male with one leg. Employees stated they were laughing and talking with their co-workers when the male with dreads, identified as Paul Whitaker, 19, told them to “mind their business” and “get back to their 9-5 job.”
One of the employees reportedly replied that it wasn’t 9 to 5 and was “actually 3 a.m.” Whitaker then became more agitated and angry and began to talk toward them and threaten the workers.
Police say the male with one leg attempted to get between his friend and the employees to push him away. Whitaker then pulled a handgun from his jeans and pointed it at the employees.
He eventually began to walk away but momentarily turned back toward the employees, again pointing the gun at them. He then crossed the street to Wedington Drive and Colorado Avenue and fired the gun into the air several times before advancing to Betty Jo Drive.
Whitaker then opened fire on the Taco Bell and employees, striking the building with several of the shots, one of which went into the building, narrowly missing an employee. None of the employees outside were injured.
Investigators were able to obtain video surveillance from the restaurant as well as a nearby apartment complex that captured the altercation and shooting. They used this footage to identify Whitaker and locate him on July 29 at 1131 N. Oakland Avenue #4 where he was taken in for questioning.
Police say he then confessed to firing the gun at the employees and was transported to the Washington County Jail.
Whitaker currently faces six counts of Attempted Murder in the First Degree, one count of Possession of Firearm, one count of Terroristic Act, and one count of Terroristic Threatening in the First Degree. His bond is set at $250,000.