Dunkin' manager gets house arrest after single punch kills racist customer

Mar 9 2022, 5:14 pm

Trigger warning: This story contains descriptions of racial slur usage and child sexual abuse that some readers may find traumatic.

A man in Tampa, Florida, is facing two years of house arrest after fatally punching a customer who spat a racial slur at him at work.

On May 4, 2021, Corey Pujols was working as a manager at a Dunkin’ Donuts location in Tampa Bay. Vonelle Cook, who was a regular at the establishment, tried to order coffee via the drive-thru that afternoon, but got frustrated when the employees couldn’t hear him.

The 77-year-old white man entered the café and created a ruckus, complaining about the service. Pujols told him to leave, and asked a coworker to call the police. That’s when Cook called him a racial slur, Tampa Bay Times reports.

When warned not to say the racial slur again, Cook repeated it. Pujols punched him in the jaw, which caused the victim to fall and hit his head. Pujols then slowly walked away from him.

The branch manager punched Cook in the jaw once, leading to him falling on the floor, hitting his head, and being rushed to the hospital.

When police arrived, they arrested Pujols under a battery charge against a person over 65, but Cook died three days after the fact, leading to a potential manslaughter charge for the 27-year-old.

On Monday, he pleaded guilty to a reduced charged of felony battery, and was given two years of house arrest, a subsequent three years of probation, 200 hours of community service.

He was also told to take a course in anger management.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement records reveal Cook to be a registered sex offender with ten convictions for sexual crimes against children in 2008 alone.


Florida Department of Law Enforcement

Imaan SheikhImaan Sheikh

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