WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — David Zambrana said he was “not the aggressor” during what police called an assault on two employees at a Wyoming Burger King, but the workers disagree, saying he jumped the counter and then attacked them.
“I definitely wasn’t the aggressor. The video will show me running, trying to flee from these minors,” Zambrana told News 8 Monday.
The altercation happened Sunday afternoon at the Burger King on 28th Street near Michael Avenue SW. In a release, Wyoming police said Zambrana “acted aggressively” and attacked two teenage employees.
One of the workers, a 17-year-old who asked to be identified only as Isabela, sustained a cut to her forehead. She said another, a 15-year-old girl, has a broken jaw and broken teeth.
“My friend is in the hospital with bad injuries and I have 11 stitches,” Isabela said.
She told News 8 it started when Zambrana was in the drive-thru. The 15-year-old, who was working the window, came to Isabela, saying that a customer threw his cup through the window at her, telling her to “clean this (expletives).” Isabela said when she tried to give him a new cup, he slapped it at her.
“It splashed all over me. It splashed all over the outside of the window, the counter,” Isabela said. “And then we thought it was over. That happens all the time. People slap cups like that all the time. Oh well, you know?”
But then he drove around and walked into the restaurant, saying he wanted his cup.
“’You just slapped it. It’s outside,’” she said the told him. “‘You can go get it outside.’ Like, ‘What do you want us to do? You basically slapped it out of all of our hands and you were very rude to us. So what do you want us to do about it?’
“He jumps over the counter, and I tried to stop him but I couldn’t because he’s a grown man,” Isabela continued. “I couldn’t do anything. What can I do stop him?”
She said he started pouring drinks “all over the lobby” and throwing them at the wall.
Zambrana said he went behind the counter to get his drink after he asked the workers to wipe it off, believing they had “done something to it.”
“You guys are making me wait. I don’t know what you guys did to this cup. I don’t want to drink this drink. I’m just going to come in and get my own,” he said he thought. “And then they, that’s when they pulled out the camera and started talking about my feet. Just bickering. Being childish. So I met them with the childishness and poured it on the floor. “
He said both he and the employees threw drinks. He said when trying to leave the restaurant, he was blocked by one of the employees and there was a fight.
“When we tried to get him to leave, that’s when it escalated to the fight,” Isabela said.
She said Zambrana attacked her.
“I was trying to go behind him to lock the door … ’cause I thought it was over,” she said. “…I was yelling at him, talking with my hands. And he, I don’t know, he just body slammed me and kicked me and all my co-workers came to help.”
She said her co-workers came to defend her.
“We were trying to get him off, so we were pushing him and kicking him off.. and pushing him, you know, we were trying to get him off of us. We were not trying to assault him just to assault him. We were trying to defend ourselves at that point,” she said. “Oh my gosh, well, I remember thinking, ‘He’s beating up my (15-year-old) co-worker. I need to get him off of her. And he was hurting her really bad. I could just hear her screaming, ‘Oh, my jaw… He hit my face,’ and I just remember thinking, ‘I’ve got to get him off of her.'”
Zambrana said the five to six employees that were behind the counter chased him out the door.
“I tried to push the door closed and one person put their whole body in the doorway. The rest came and pushed the door open and at that point, people were hitting me and my head goes down and I just grab legs of the person that’s there, and while I’m doing that, there’s another set of legs here and I just pulled those legs,” Zambrana described. “My shirt’s over my head at this time. I’m getting banged on. And I had to come out of my clothes. When I come out of my clothes, I kick, you know, and there’s three people standing up and they’re trying to grab on to me so I’m just pushing back, pushing back, swinging.”
Zambrana eventually left, leaving the workers to nurse their wounds.
“We were all in the bathroom just crying and praying together,” Isabela said. “We were all right there and we’re just like, ‘We’re gonna be OK, guys. We’re gonna be OK, guys.’ And we were just bleeding in the bathroom together.”
The 15-year-old is expected to undergo surgery. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the Burger King workers.
Zambrana called police, telling them he was assaulted. He said officers came to his house, took down his story, snapped photos of a minor scratch to his back and cut on one foot, and left.
Police indicated they will seek charges against Zambrana.
He acknowledged the optics were bad but insisted he was the victim.
“I was running from kids that didn’t look like kids, and I got hit and I just had to get out of there,” he said. “How could I get out of that situation when I’m being pounded on?”
He added he felt bad that the employees were hurt and apologized to the workers.
“It’s horrible. It looks so bad and I feel terrible it even occurred, honestly,” he said. “This is nothing I’d wish on anybody.”
Both sides agreed on one point:
“It could have ended at the window after I gave him the cup,” Isabela said.
“My actions could have been, ‘Just forget the drink.’ Honestly,” Zambrana said. “That would have avoided it all.”