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Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018
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Long wait at Wingstop ends in brawl, hot oil and second degree burns

TAMPA — A customer visited Wingstop on Sunday night to pick up his order. What happened next was off-menu:

Robert Williams said he suffered second-degree burns on his back and legs after a Wingstop employee threw hot oil on him during a scuffle.

Williams, 43, ended up at Tampa General Hospital. Now Tampa police have recommended that the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office file charges against the employee.

"I am in a lot of pain," Williams told the Tampa Bay Times. "I have blisters all over. I don’t have any skin on my back."

He said it started when he visited the Wingstop at 2115 E Hillsborough Ave. and ordered 10 wings sometime before 11 p.m.

Williams has visited this location several times, he said, but on Sunday he grew frustrated with the slow service.

"They were serving people who came after me," he said.

Williams became verbally aggressive and started yelling at the employees, according to a police report. After 30 minutes of waiting, Williams said the manager brought his food out and placed it on the counter.

He continued to complain about the service to her. She didn’t like that.

"(The manager) said, ‘You aren’t getting this food. You can have your money back,’ " Williams said.

"Had she not taken my chicken I would have just walked out with my food. She tried to humiliate me in front of the other customers."

The woman refunded his money, police said, which resulted in Williams tossing his full drink at her.

" ‘You can have this back too,’ " Williams said he told her. "It was a styrofoam cup. It didn’t hurt her."

Who delivered the first blow is in dispute. Police said Williams leaned over the counter and hit the woman in her face.

Williams said the manager leaped over the counter and attacked him.

Police said Williams wrestled with the manager and another employee until they ended up outside the restaurant.

That’s when a third employee, Eddie Tignor, 31, emerged from the back of Wingstop with a container of hot oil. He then poured it onto Williams’ back, police said.

Williams called his 47-year-old sister Robyn, and she rushed over to the restaurant.

"I feel like we could have been planning a funeral," she said. "I called the police, I called a paramedic. His skin was falling off."

Officers arrived but did not arrest anyone. Williams was rushed to a hospital.

Tampa police spokesman Steve Hegarty said his agency recommended that prosecutors file a charge of aggravated battery against the employee.

Tignor could not be reached for comment.

A spokesman for Wingstop Restaurants Inc., Brian Bell, said the corporate office spoke with Tampa police about the incident. There are multiple versions of the story, Bell said. He would not comment further.

Management at that E Hillsborough Avenue Wingstop declined to speak to a reporter. The restaurant had a help wanted sign in the window Thursday.

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