Anthony Rodriguez, a 26-year-old Wisconsin man, nearly died after two customers shot him over a $3 burger, police believe.
According to local reports, Rodriguez was working at the George Webb restaurant in Wauwatosa last month, when a pair of customers refused to pay for an order that they said was missing an item.
When the server tried to take the food away, he said they body slammed him and shot him point blank in the neck — nearly killing him.
The alleged shooters, twin sisters Breanta and Bryanna Johnson, 20, are charged with attempted murder.
Anthony Rodriguez Recalls Shooting
Rodriguez was the only server on duty at around midnight on Jan. 30, when the Johnson twins reportedly entered the Wauwatosa George Webb restaurant and ordered.
He gave the customers their food, but they claimed the bag was missing a burger they had asked for.
“They said they weren’t going to pay, and I said, ‘OK, I’m going to take your food since you’re not paying for it,’” Rodriguez told local reporters. “So I took it and threw it away.”
The Johnson sisters grew angry when he asked them to leave. The 26-year-old said he’d hardly realized what was happening before he was punched and thrown to the restaurant floor. Breanta and Bryanna Johnson allegedly kicked him and stomped on his face before shooting him at point blank range.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the bullet entered Rodriguez’s head through the right side of his lips, knocking out several teeth, grazing his tongue, and fracturing parts of his spinal column before coming to rest in his throat.
The server recalled those harrowing moments just before he lost consciousness.
“I was in so much shock I don’t remember being in much pain, but I remember kind of internally freaking out and being very scared, just telling myself, ‘Wow, I’m probably gonna die here,’” he told WISN.
He continued: “I was trying to focus on breathing, knowing that I was losing my ability to breathe slowly and really trying to focus on staying alive […] “I didn’t know whether or not I was going to make it.”
Breanta and Bryanna Johnson were later arrested and charged with attempted murder. Both women are reportedly still jailed on $100,000 bond. It’s not clear when the accused shooters are due back in court, or if they have a lawyer.
“I hope they get the judgment that they deserve because it was brutal what they did,” Rodriguez said of his alleged assailants. “I never expected to get shot just being a server.”
George Webb Employee Recovers
The 26-year-old was rushed to the hospital, where he was put under anesthesia while medical personnel worked to stabilize him. When Rodriguez finally woke up more than a day later, his prognosis was grim: doctors told his mother he may never walk or breathe independently ever again.
Now, almost a month later, his mother says he’s a “walking miracle.”
According to a GoFundMe page set up to assist with his medical costs, Rodriguez is now back home with his 3-year-old son, taking it easy as he regains his faculties. He’s still wearing a neck brace to stabilize his spine and plans to see facial and dental reconstruction specialists in the weeks ahead.
But he’s speaking more than he was previously able to, and is using that to thank the Wauwatosa residents who had his back.
“I really can’t thank my family and just the community in general, just for all the support that has been given,” he said.
As of Wednesday, the GoFundMe has raised about $60,000 of its $65,000 goal.