A Jack in the Box manager was repeatedly stabbed after asking a customer to wear a mask, Texas police say.
The manager told the customer to wear a mask or use the drive-thru of the fast food restaurant in League City on Wednesday night, but the man started filming and threatened legal action, police say.
When the customer appeared to be leaving, the manager turned away. Then the customer tackled the manager and stabbed him with a knife, police say. Other employees intervened and the man fled the area, police say.
The manager was leaning over a counter with stab wounds when officers arrived. He was taken to a hospital for treatment and later released.
On Thursday, police continued searching for the suspect in the stabbing. He was wanted on a charge of aggravated assault.
“It’s a very polarizing situation where some folks don’t believe that there should be masks and others do,” League City Police Chief Gary Ratliff said at a news conference. “I would ask that people respect the policies that have been put in place by these local businesses and any businesses around. A lot of these people...have had personal events with loved ones that have died and passed away as a result of COVID as have some of our officers.”
Though Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the state’s mask mandate, business owners can enforce rules requiring masks.
“If they refuse to leave, then they will be arrested for criminal trespass,” Ratliff said. “There’s no reason to let it get to that point. You can refuse to do business at those locations or whatever it is you choose to do, but there’s no reason to result to aggressive behavior like this.”
The stabbing was at least the third dispute over masks in Galveston County since Abbott ended the mandate.
An Oregon woman was handcuffed inside a Galveston bank after refusing to wear a mask and video of officers detaining her went viral, The Galveston County Daily News reported.
On Wednesday, she was arrested on warrants related to the incident after refusing to wear a mask inside an Office Depot in neighboring Texas City, McClatchy News reported.