DENVER — A man convicted of shooting an Aurora Waffle House cook over the COVID mask mandate in 2020 was sentenced to 13 years in prison, the 18th Judicial District announced Wednesday.
Kelvin Watson, 30, pleaded guilty this month to attempted second-degree murder and a sentence enhancer for committing a violent crime with a weapon.
Prosecutors said Watson shot a then 25-year-old man outside the restaurant, located at 12880 E. Mississippi Ave., on May 15, 2020, after Watson was refused service at the restaurant for not wearing a mask 24 hours earlier.
During the initial visit when Watson was told to leave, he returned with a mask, but he wasn't wearing it over his mouth, and threatened staff at the restaurant, telling the 25-year-old cook, "You better shut the f--k up before I blow your brains out," while allegedly displaying a gun, police said in an arrest affidavit.
The victim, the cook at the Waffle House, sustained serious injuries to his abdomen but was released from the hospital and was expected to recover. He was shot running from the restaurant to his apartment nearby, police said.
“While restaurants and stores are public places, businesses have the right to refuse service or ask customers to leave their establishment,” District Attorney John Kellner said in a statement. “The defendant drove back to the restaurant and shot an innocent employee for no reason other than doing his job.”
Following Watson’s release from prison, he will be placed on mandatory parole for three year