If you thought the federal agency’s name of “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms” was odd, a November 27 incident in Biloxi, Mississippi might explain the relativity of its terms. An apparently intoxicated man was told by a waitress to put out his cigarette, so he shot and killed her with his concealed weapon.
The incident occurred at approximately 1 a.m. Friday morning, and at one of the many Waffle House locations that sprinkle Hwy. 90 between the coastal city’s casinos. Johnny Max Mount, a 45-year-old resident of Biloxi, sat at the restaurant’s main counter. Shortly after he lit a cigarette, which violated the location’s “no smoking” rule, a waitress identified only as “Julie” told Mount to put it out.
A brief argument over the cigarette quickly ended when Mount pulled out a concealed 9-millimeter handgun and shot the waitress in the head. The 52-year-old woman, whose full name has yet to be released, died at Merit Health Hospital in Biloxi shortly after.
Mount was quickly arrested by local police, and is now held at Harrison County Adult Detention Center on a $2 million bond. His mug shot shows Mount with a distant stare from unfocused eyes, messed-up hair, and a sweaty face, indicating intoxication. He is charged with first-degree murder.
Had Mississippi’s state legislature not kissed-up to the NRA in recent years, though, Mount could have faced additional charges. Or maybe the killing could have been avoided all together.
In 2010, Mississippi’s state legislature allowed open-carry in parks, restaurants, and retail environments. Following additional legislation in 2013, anyone in the state who completes an eight-hour class can carry a concealed weapon in locations that are ordinarily prohibited, including restaurants, bars, schools, polling places, airports – even courtrooms, except when they are engaged in judicial proceedings. (It’s currently unconfirmed if Mount completed such a class.) The state’s attorney general, Republican Jim Hood, confirmed legal carry of weapons in those locations in 2014.
“Julie” had worked at several of the restaurant chain’s Biloxi locations for eight years, a company representative says, and at the location of the shooting for two years. The company quickly issued a statement about the loss:
This senseless tragedy is a shock for the Waffle House family. Julie was a friend to many as well as a valued member of the Waffle House team. She will be greatly missed. Our prayers are with her family, friends, co-workers and customers.
Featured image by Biloxi Police Department via The Sun Ledger