An attempt by a Taco Bell manager to assist a homeless employee ended in tragedy when he was fatally shot by 24-year-old Dejon Drake, according to Illinois police report.
Taco Bell manager murdered by homeless employee he let stay at his apartment, police say https://t.co/m5kKpY0PWv
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Louis Stafford, who ran operations at Chesterfield Township’s Taco Bell, noticed his employee, Dejon Drake, arriving for work with wet clothes. When he inquired about the situation, Drake revealed that he was homeless and living in a tent behind the restaurant.
“The guy told him that he was basically living in a tent behind the Taco Bell,” Stafford’s cousin Zonni Juan told WXYZ-TV.
Touched by Drake’s plight, Stafford extended a helping hand by inviting him to stay at his apartment. However, things took a dark turn when Drake’s behavior became increasingly combative, causing fear among his co-workers. Despite the concerns, Stafford continued advocating for Drake, trying to support him.
On July 29, Stafford asked Drake to leave his apartment. However, the request led to a heated altercation between the two, and at some point, Drake allegedly shot and killed Stafford.
Following the incident, Drake was apprehended and taken into custody at Macomb County Jail, where he faces charges of second-degree murder and felony firearm possession.
Stafford was described as a promising young man, with a bright future ahead of him. “He was the type of young man that you would look at him and say, one day he’s going to make someone a really great husband, he’s gonna make someone a good father,” Juan said.
Reflecting on the unfortunate incident, Juan said that better mental illness care might have possibly prevented this tragedy.
Before the terrible events unfolded, Stafford had been on a path of recovery after experiencing the loss of his brother to COVID-19 and diabetes complications, according to his family. Additionally, he had previously survived a harrowing encounter when he was shot three times during a robbery while working at a McDonald’s restaurant. He was battling PTSD as a result of the incident before his tragic death,
Expressing grief over the tragic loss, his mother, Leola Stafford said, “My son didn’t deserve to die.”
“He had a good heart. He was doing a good deed and didn’t have to die for this. He offered him love, a roof over his head, a shower and bed to sleep in and he (Drake) turns around and kills him,” she added.