'Belligerent' Refusal to Wear a Mask, Then a Stabbing

Police say Texas man attacked Jack in the Box manager over mask request
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2021 7:43 AM CDT
Restaurant Manager Stabbed in Mask Dispute
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/hxdbzxy)

Police in Texas have issued an arrest warrant for a man they say stabbed a fast-food manager over a request to put on a face mask. NBC News reports that cops in League City, about 25 miles southeast of Houston, are searching for James Schulz. The 53-year-old is said to have shown up at a Jack in the Box around 8pm on Wednesday, only to be told by the shift manager he needed to wear a face covering if he wanted to be served inside, per League City Police Chief Gary Ratliff. Schulz "belligerently refused," then started recording the incident on his cellphone, accusing staff of not serving him because he's homeless, Ratliff said at a briefing Thursday, per KTRK. Security video shows the store manager leading Schulz to the door, then turning away—at which point "the suspect ran up behind him, tackled him, and stabbed him multiple times," Ratliff says, per NBC.

The manager, who was injured with what Ratliff says seemed to be a pocketknife, was stabbed three times in the upper torso and arm. He was treated at a local hospital and released. Schulz, who fled the scene, is now being sought on a warrant for assault with a deadly weapon, Ratliff notes, adding that Schulz is known in the area but hasn't been in trouble with the cops before over this issue. The police chief says he knows the "very polarizing" issue of face masks has rankled some, but he notes that patrons should respect the rules businesses put into place, warning that police are ready to make trespassing arrests for those who won't comply. "You can refuse to do business at those locations ... but there's no reason to resort to aggressive behavior like this," he says, per CNN. (An arrest warrant was issued for a woman who balked at the mask rule in a Texas bank.)

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