A serial killer preyed on the employees of fast-food chains like Captain D’s, McDonald’s, and Baskin-Robbins
On February 15, 1997, dishwasher and convicted robber Paul Dennis Reid Jr. reportedly hurled a plate at a fellow employee in the kitchen of a Nashville-area Shoney’s. The restaurant’s manager promptly fired the 39-year-old aspiring country singer.
The following day, investigators said, Reid embarked on a killing spree that targeted fast-food joints and left at least seven people dead.
He started close to home, making his way into a Captain D’s before the restaurant opened up for the day. Shoney’s owned the seafood restaurant chain at the time, and that particular location was near Reid’s former place of work.
Once inside the Captain D’s, Reid was said to have robbed the restaurant and shot manager Steve Hampton, 25, and employee Sarah Jackson, 16, at point-blank range in the refrigerator, according to Nashville Public Radio.
About a month later, on March 23, 1997, Reid is said to have ambushed four McDonald’s employees wrapping up a shift in the chain’s Hermitage, Tennessee, location, according to the Tennessee Supreme Court’s briefing on the murders.
After manager Ronald Santiago, 27, opened up the restaurant’s safe, Reid shot him, 17-year-old Andrea Brown, and 23-year-old Robert Sewell execution-style, the briefing said. Reid also brutally stabbed a fourth victim after his gun malfunctioned. That employee survived the attack.
The final murders connected to Reid began in a Baskin-Robbins in Clarksville, Tennessee, on April 23, 1997. According to the Tennessee Supreme Court’s summary of the case, Reid abducted two employees, 21-year-old Angela Holmes and 16-year-old Michelle Mace, from the ice cream parlor and later murdered them both in Dunbar Cave State Park.
Strangely enough, the person who ultimately brought an end to the killings was Reid’s former manager at Shoney’s.
The Tennessean reported that on June 25, 1997, the manager opened the door to find the dishwasher he’d fired four months earlier standing there. Reid demanded his job at Shoney’s back. Then, he reportedly pulled out a gun and attempted to kidnap his ex-boss.
Reid was sentenced to death seven times over, sparking a controversy over his mental competence. The so-called “Fast Food Killer” was never executed for his crimes; he died of natural causes in 2013.