Community reacts after Waffle House waitress shot and killed - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Community reacts after Waffle House waitress shot and killed

According to Biloxi police, the fight started when Johnny Mount, 45, refused to put out a cigarette he was smoking inside the restaurant. (Photo source: WLOX) According to Biloxi police, the fight started when Johnny Mount, 45, refused to put out a cigarette he was smoking inside the restaurant. (Photo source: WLOX)
Johnny Max Mount (Photo source: Biloxi Police Dept.) Johnny Max Mount (Photo source: Biloxi Police Dept.)
Mount is being held at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center on a $2 million bond. (Photo source: Harrison Co. Sheriff's Dept.) Mount is being held at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center on a $2 million bond. (Photo source: Harrison Co. Sheriff's Dept.)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Linda Illing and John Lestrade never thought their morning routine would be interrupted.

But, then they found out an argument over a cigarette turned deadly not far from where they live.

"What's going with this world? I mean, this is ridiculous," said Illing. 

Around 1 a.m. Friday morning, officials say 45-year-old Johnny Max Mount walked into a Biloxi Waffle House on Hwy. 90, near the Coast Coliseum. As other customers dined, Mount reportedly argued with a Waffle House employee, identified by a restaurant spokesperson only as "Julie", who told Mount he couldn't smoke inside the establishment. 

Following the argument, police say Mount pulled a 9 mm handgun from underneath his shirt, and shot the employee in the head. 

According City of Biloxi spokesperson Vincent Creel, Mount is a former Biloxi firefighter. Although it is not known for how long, Creel says Mount has not been affiliated with BFD since 2006. 

"The suspect was arrested on the scene. When officers arrived, he was still on scene and was taken into custody," said Sgt. Donnie Dobbs, Biloxi Police.

The 52-year-old victim was transported to Merrit Health, where she died from the gunshot wound. 

Leastrade says he knows things can get crazy around the holidays, but it's unbelievable that Friday's crime could happen so close to home. He hopes this incident is the last. 

"The good, the bad, the ugly of it all is that you know, the individual getting all upset about smoking there's a lot of tension in the air," Leastrade said. "You've got to practice your attitude......You've got to be cautious. Watch how you approach people, watch how they approach you."

Within hours of the shooting, the crime scene tape had been removed and the location was back open for business. A senior Waffle House manager was moved to the location to offer additional support, and free counseling was offered to any associates who needed someone to talk to.  

Waffle House officials also added that Julie had been employed with the company as a salesperson for eight years, and had spent the last two years at the Hwy. 90 location. Officials gave WLOX the following statement: 

"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."

Mount has been charged with first degree murder, and is being held at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center on a $2 million bond.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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