California Man Dies After Being Punched in Fast Food Restaurant

A California man has died after he was pronounced brain dead following a single punch at a fast food restaurant.

The 43-year-old victim was found unconscious and lying on the ground at a restaurant on the 100 block of Main Street in Watsonville with a severe head injury.

Officers arrived on the scene following a report of a fight at the store on December 2, the Watsonville Police Department said in a statement on Tuesday.

The unidentified victim was taken to a local trauma center where he remained in ICU for several days before being transferred to Stanford Hospital.

Jose Figueroa Gonzalez
Jose Figueroa Gonzalez, 30, is facing manslaughter charges stemming from a fight at a fast food restaurant that led to a man's death. Watsonville Police Department

The man was declared brain dead on December 9. Stanford doctors were unable to him. An autopsy revealed the victim died from blunt force trauma to the head, police said.

Jose Figueroa Gonzalez, 30, has since been charged with manslaughter stemming from the physical altercation with the victim.

Detectives were able to identify Gonzalez as the suspect by analysing evidence found at the scene, as well as surveillance video footage.

In the footage, Gonzalez can be seen throwing a single deadly punch before the victim immediately collapses, police allege.

Although Gonzalez left in a vehicle before police arrived, evidence at the scene analyzed by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office Forensics Unit enabled detectives to identify him as the suspect.

Gonzalez was arrested as he was leaving his home on December 9 and booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail.

He has been charged with voluntary manslaughter and other assault-related charges.

The 30-year-old faced court on Tuesday but is now out of custody after posting a $50,000 bail.

"We believe this incident was a random act of violence that ended tragically," the Watsonville Police Department said.

It's certainly not the first time an altercation has ended in violence at a fast food restaurant.

Earlier in the month, a woman was arrested after she drove at her co-worker following a brawl at a branch of McDonald's.

Zoe Gunn was struck by the vehicle during an altercation at the drive-thru fast food restaurant in the north of the city on November 27.

Police said the argument started between Destiny Allen and another unnamed employee. Gunn, also a McDonald's employee, was said to have stepped in to break up the altercation when she was hit by the car.

Video showed two women—both of whom were indistinguishable due to the low quality of the footage—wrestling on the floor.

Police alleged that Allen then got into her car and reversed into Gunn, knocking her into the window of the restaurant. Photos showed smashed glass at the scene.

By the time officers arrived at the restaurant, Gunn was already on her way to the hospital for treatment.

In a statement, police said: "Gunn ... went outside to the parking lot of the location to make sure that the employee involved in the dispute, identified as Destiny Allen, was leaving the location.

"Allen and the other employee continued to argue as Allen got into her vehicle. She then put her vehicle into reverse and pressed on the gas, striking Gunn and causing her to go into the window panel of the fast food restaurant.

"Allen was arrested on scene without incident. She was transported to the Fulton County Jail. Gunn was last reported in stable condition with injuries to her legs."

Allen was charged with aggravated assault and criminal damage to property.