Three armed Taco Bell employees shot and killed a man trying to rob the West 117th Street location Wednesday morning, police now say.
The shooting happened just before 3 a.m. at the restaurant at West 117th Street and Franklin Blvd.
Police say preliminary investigation indicates five employees were inside the Taco Bell when two masked suspects entered and tried to rob the restaurant. They ordered all of the employees to the ground, police said.
"Whatever the corporate rules are, in terms of a criminal prosecution, they all have a right to act in self-defense if they reasonably believe they're facing a threat of imminent death or bodily harm,” said Jonathan Witmer-Rich, Associate Professor at Cleveland Marshall College of Law.
He added "The company running the place may have a policy about whether they want their employees armed or not armed. People are entitled to defend themselves under the law, and if they use deadly force that’s legally justified."
Three of the employees — ages 19, 19 and 23 — were armed and shot at the suspects.
De'Carlo Jackson, 24, was hit multiple times. Officers administered first aid until EMS arrived. Jackson was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
The other suspect fled on foot.
No arrests have been made.
Taco Bell said in a statement that the company is offering counseling for the employees.
Read the full statement below:
Taco Bell and Sigma Bell, LLC., the franchise owner of this Cleveland, Ohio location, are shocked this happened at the restaurant. Our franchisee is fully cooperating with the Cleveland Police Department in their investigation. The employees are very shaken up from today’s events, and our franchisee is offering them counseling.