Now That's Service With a Loaded Weapon

Don't know what time your favorite restaurant closes? Worst-case scenario, that might mean going hungry until you find another place to eat. But for one local couple, it meant an alleged threat of physical violence.

The Knoxville Police Department responded to a disturbance call around 5:30 p.m. on June 8 concerning an especially exciting dinner outing. The complainant told officers he and his wife had gone to a nearby deli, where they had been frequent customers in the past. After they entered the deli, which displayed no "Closed" sign, around 5 p.m., a young man came out of the kitchen and asked what they were doing there. When they said they would like to place their order, he replied, "Have you ever gotten any food here at 5 o'clock?"

The apparent food-service employee then pulled out a small handgun and stated the obvious: "I have a gun." The couple fled the deli.

After responding to the call, the officers tried without success to contact the suspect at the deli. They looked up the deli's business hours and noticed it closed at 3 p.m.

Local restaurant owners should take the deli gunman's behavior as a lesson: You might be assured of more return customers by simply locking the door at closing time (instead of threatening them with a gun).