Shooting at Phoenix Wendy's: Suspect arrested after teenage fast-food worker was shot in head

A teenage worker was hurt after being shot in the head following a dispute with a customer at a fast-food restaurant in Phoenix.

According to Sgt. Vincent Cole with Phoenix Police, the incident happened at a Wendy's restaurant near 19th and Glendale Avenues at around 8 p.m. on Jan. 13.

"The customer reportedly walked up to the drive-thru window, pulled out a handgun and fired into the drive-thru window hitting the victim working inside the store," said Sgt. Cole.

The teenage victim was taken to a hospital in critical condition. He has since been identified as 16-year-old Brian Durham Jr.

After the shooting, the suspect got into a vehicle and left the scene. 

The suspect, who was not taken into custody until Friday evening, has been identified as 27-year-old Theotis Polk.

Victim's family speaks out

According to the victim's brother, Harris Wonder, Durham Jr. was never involved in the initial argument.

"He was just innocent. Wasn't causing no trouble, wasn't looking for no harm. Just wrong place at the wrong time," said Wonder.

"He's very lucky to be alive right now due to the fact that he was in a confrontation that wasn't for him, and the bullet went through his head. It actually went through and came out the other," said Durham Jr.'s father, Brian Durham Sr.

 After Durham Sr. got the phone call, he rushed to the hospital.

"It was very nerve wracking, hearing that your son got shot because you don't know what," said Durham Sr. "Is his leg shot? Is he dead? Lot of things is racing through your mind."

Durham Sr. said just moments earlier, the victim was at the cash register, as his coworker and the suspect argued over the lack of barbecue sauce.

"He was in the middle, and the other guy’s right there, ‘hey, let me get some extra barbecue sauce.’ It became a confrontation. That somebody actually got shot over some barbecue sauce, so that was a confrontation, 'cause the dude couldn't get no extra barbecue sauce," said Durham Sr. "My son just stayed quiet and had the guy’s change in his hand. Just stayed quiet while the other two was in confrontation."

Durham Jr. was the only person shot, and his father said somehow, the bullet barely grazed Durham Jr.'s brain, and that his son is still alive.

"This was a miracle today, 'cause my son ain't supposed to be standing. If he would have switched two seconds to the left, maybe one, he would have been gone," said Durham Sr.

Meanwhile, Durham Sr. wants the suspect to turn themselves in.

"Do what's right. That's it," said Durham Sr. "I mean, the little boy ain't had nothing to do with nothing, and you being out of pocket, pulling out a pistol on little kids. They were 16, 17-year-old little kid. You could see their face, and you could tell they weren't adults."

The victim reportedly worked at the Wendy's for about four months to help his family.

Anyone with information on the shooting should call Phoenix Police at 602-262-6151 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS. Spanish speakers can call or 480-TESTIGO for Spanish. Spanish speakers can leave an anonymous tip by calling Testigo Silencioso at 480-TESTIGO.

Si tiene alguna información sobre este caso, llame a la línea de Testigo Silencioso (480-TESTIGO, 480-837-8446).

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