Florida Good Samaritan Shot Dead at Waffle House for Not Picking up Woman's Tab

Ezekiel Hicks
Ezekiel Hicks, 25, is thought to have shot a man at a Waffle House in Florida. Alachua County Sheriff's Office

A Florida man has been charged with murder after shooting dead a man who was paying for people's meals at a Waffle House, according to police.

At around 3am on Sunday morning, Ezekiel Hicks, 25, got into an argument with Craig Brewer, 41, at the Waffle House at 7611 on West Newberry Road, in the city of Gainesville, northern Florida, according to Alachua County Sheriff.

Lt. Brett Rhodenizer of Alachua County Sheriff told NBCwitnesses saw "the victim was paying for meals and giving out money, and that devolved into a verbal and then physical altercation."

Rhodenizer told The Gainesville Sun a woman at the waffle house became angry when Brewer, who was handing out $20 bills, did not pay for her meal.

Hicks then left the restaurant, and armed himself with a 9mm handgun, police said. Police did not state where he got the gun.

"Despite the efforts of at least one bystander, the suspect went back inside, approached the victim, and a physical fight started," police said in a statement.

The fight then carried on, and Hicks drew the firearm out from his pants. He then shot Brewer in the head. Rhodenizer told The Gainsville Sun Hicks shot his victim multiple times, including at least once in the head before police arrived on the scene.

In audio footage of the call with 911 obtained by The Miami Herald, a witness told the responder: "Dude got shot in the head. A big dude in a green shirt shot some dude in the head and ran away."

Before the shooting, police officers were already at the restaurant as staff asked for help breaking up the large crowd that had gathered. Customers were refusing to leave the packed eatery.

Officers quickly found Hicks and arrested him near the scene, police said. The incident was filmed on CCTV, and the footage will be used as evidence in what is being treated as a murder investigation, alongside the handgun.

The investigation into the shooting is ongoing. Police have urged anyone who can provide information about the shooting to contact the Criminal Investigations Division at (352) 367-4170.

In a statement, Alachua County Sheriff thanked the management team at Waffle House and Gainesville Police Department for helping officers to control the crowd, and the assistance of the Alachua County Crisis Center. Their actions prevented additional violence, according to the county sheriff.

"From the time of the initial call for assistance until the shooting was roughly five minutes, with the suspect in custody seven minutes after the original call (2 minutes following the shooting)," Alachua County Sheriff said.

"The evidence in the case is fairly straightforward. We're working with the state attorney. It's pretty obvious. We have on video what happened," Rhodenizer told The Gainesville Sun.

"There was at least one gunshot to the head but the medical examiner will offer authoritative information on that."

"What we're trying to find out in the days ahead is if this was truly a verbal argument that turned into a murder case or if there is something missing there."

Hicks was charged with first degree, premeditated murder, WTSP reported.