Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski told reporters that 28-year-old Kevin Davis entered the restaurant in Oxon Hill and started “methodically” cutting a line reserved for the menu item. Stawinski said that Davis was confronted by another man when he cut to the front of the line.
“Over the course of fifteen minutes this individual works his way methodically ahead of everybody else in that line, is confronted by this individual and then from the moment of that confrontation, 15 seconds later, the two of them are out in front of the store, a stabbing occurs and an individual’s life is lost,” Stawinski told reporters.
He added, “The question my detectives have to answer is: how does a confrontation lead to a homicide in 15 seconds?”
Police said the preliminary investigation revealed Davis and the suspect got into a brief verbal argument. They both then got out of the line and walked out the front door together before the suspect stabbed Davis, investigators said.
Police said Davis was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Police are asking the public for help identifying the suspect and a woman he was with, who they said is a person of interest.
The suspect and the woman fled the parking lot in a vehicle immediately following the stabbing. Police said a vehicle description was not available and that it did not appear that the suspect and Davis were associated with each other before Monday’s fight.
Police added that they do not have information that “this was a longstanding dispute or that it is anything outside of what had occurred.”
Stawinski told reporters the restaurant was packed with at least three dozen people, including children, when the fight and stabbing occurred.
“What bothers me about this ... is that there are families and children in this restaurant as this is unfolding and they’ve been exposed to this now as well,” Stawinski said. “This is pointless, this is disrespectful.”
He said he reviewed the surveillance video and there were several children in the restaurant who were “obviously shocked” about what was unfolding in front of them.
Police said a knife was recovered from the scene.
Popeyes resumed selling its chicken sandwich on Sunday. The menu item was initially released on Aug. 12, but popular demand caused the chain’s supply to sell out by the end of that month.
In a statement sent to Fox News on Monday night, a Popeyes spokesperson said, “We are very sad to hear about the tragedy in Maryland tonight. We do not yet know whether this was the result of a dispute over one of our products or something unrelated, but there is no reason for someone to lose their life on a Monday night in a parking lot.”
“Our thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends and we are fully cooperating with local authorities,” the statement went on to say.
Oxon Hill is about 20 minutes from Washington, D.C.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.