HENRICO, Va. – A former Waffle House employee accused in a restaurant shootout on Halloween last year will remain in jail until a grand jury reviews his case on May 2. Tywanta Taylor, 25, had his bond denied by a judge in Henrico. He has been locked up since October 31 for a shooting he claims was in self-defense.
At Taylor’s preliminary hearing at Henrico General District Court, his family members were present, including his mother, aunt, brother, and the mother of his son. Some of them were visibly upset upon learning that Taylor would have to stay in jail for several more months.
Taylor’s mother expressed her concern, stating that he had never been in trouble before and had two children to support. His older brother also believed that there was enough evidence, including video footage, to warrant Taylor’s release.
The shootout at the Waffle House occurred when two unruly customers entered the establishment looking for trouble. Witnesses recalled the female customer complaining about another store’s refusal to take her order. The situation escalated when she called her boyfriend, who entered the restaurant with a gun on his hip.
According to Malika Bates, Taylor’s supervisor that night, the argument continued and objects were thrown before the exchange of gunfire. Four other customers were present during the incident. Bates, despite Taylor violating company policy by carrying a gun, believed that his actions saved lives.
Bates mentioned that there was no security present that night, as it was a Tuesday and security was only available on Fridays and Saturdays after midnight. Taylor maintains that he fired in self-defense after the other man shot first. Prosecutors, however, argue that surveillance video contradicts Taylor’s account.
Taylor, who has a three-year-old daughter and a 15-month-old son, remains in jail facing charges of malicious wounding and firing a weapon inside a building. If convicted, he could face up to 22 years in jail. The other man involved in the shooting is not currently facing charges.
The case will now go to a grand jury for further review.
Overall, this incident highlights the challenges faced by those working in the service industry and the potential dangers they may encounter on the job.