Police are searching for a man who they say stabbed a restaurant manager several times after he was asked to. The incident occurred at a Jack in the Box in League City, Texas.
Detectives have identified the suspect as 53-year-old James Schulz, described as a "bearded, white male" and a "transient." A warrant has been issued for his arrest for the stabbing, which took place on Wednesday night.
According to police, the suspect "belligerently refused" to cooperate with a store policy that requires face masks inside the establishment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He allegedly recorded the incident to show his lawyers, believing he was refused service because he is homeless.
The suspect confronted employees before attacking the restaurant manager. Police believe the suspect tackled the manager, then used a pocketknife to stab the manager three times in the arm and upper torso.
The suspect fled the scene after employees stepped in to defend the manager.
During an initial search, Schulz was not found, but several pieces of evidence were recovered, including his backpack, bicycle and cell phone, possibly discarded by the suspect as he fled the scene.
The injured manager was transported to a local hospital, treated and released.
"It's a very polarizing situation," League City Police Chief Gary Ratliff said during a news briefing Thursday. "Where some folks don't believe that there should be masks and others do."
Texas Governor Greg Abbottearlier this month, allowing businesses to fully reopen, despite the guidance of health experts. However, many individual businesses continue to enforce mask-wearing under their own policies.
"A lot of these people have had some of these events, I don't know this manager, but have had personal events with loved ones that have died and passed away as a result of COVID, as some of our officers have," Ratliff said. "All I would ask is that people respect the opinions and the policies of these businesses."
He added, "You can refuse to do business at those locations, or whatever it is you choose to do, but there's no reason to resort to aggressive behavior like this."