A 28-year-old Maryland resident was fatally stabbed late Monday after getting into a dispute with a fellow customer at a Popeyes restaurant amid the ongoing craze over the establishment’s popular chicken sandwich, which the company recently resumed selling after a brief hiatus, APA reports citing Sputnik.
Citing Prince George’s County Police Department officials, local news station NBC 4 reported that the unidentified man was stabbed at roughly 7 p.m. local time at an Oxon Hill Popeyes, and that he died an hour after being transported to a nearby hospital.
A preliminary investigation by police has revealed that an argument between the pair erupted after one of the individuals cut the other in a line specifically designated for customers interested in purchasing one of the sandwiches.
The dispute later spilled outside of the eatery before turning deadly. By the time police arrived at the restaurant, the suspect had already fled the scene, and the victim was suffering from stab wounds.
“Knowing these details and knowing what happened here and knowing that a life was taken, it is hard to put into words,” Jennifer Donelan, a spokesperson for the department, told the outlet. “I can’t find the right words ... to describe what this man did to this innocent victim.”
The fast food chain issued a statement on the fatal stabbing after reports surfaced, saying, “We are very sad to hear about the tragedy in Maryland tonight.”
“We do not yet know whether this was the result of a dispute over one of our products or something unrelated, but there is no reason for someone to lose their life on a Monday night in a parking lot,” the release reads. “Our thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends and we are fully cooperating with local authorities.”
Police are calling for the suspect to turn himself over to law enforcement, and for community members to reach out to officials if they have any information regarding the incident.
Popeyes re-released the popular chicken sandwich on Sunday after it rapidly sold out at across the nation earlier in August.
However, the Sunday altercation was not the first violent incident involving the restaurant's sandwich. Multiple reports have surfaced, detailing incidents in which Popeyes staff members have been threatened over the hot-ticket item. In fact, Houston Police responded in September to an incident in which a customer pulled a gun on staffers after they ran out of sandwiches.