It appears that a father of seven may have been murdered over fried chicken. Norris Jackson, 36, was working a typical shift at a Korean fried chicken restaurant called Bonchon Chicken in The Plaza at Buckland Hills in Manchester, Connecticut. The fry cook reportedly disliked his job at the restaurant that he had worked at since the summer. He repeatedly posted on social media he was underappreciated and overworked, working twelve-hour shifts, he lasted reported on December 20.
However, his hard work did not pay off, as the job ultimately cost him his life. Jackson had frequent issues with the manager, James Goolsby, 28, and another manager and waitress, 23-year-old Leanna Robitaille, who was dating Goolsby. While many loved and frequented the international cuisine, some customers were beginning to write negative Yelp reviews, which Goolsby appeared to be blaming Jackson for, as the maker of the food.
On the morning of December 30, the two men began arguing once again about the restaurant’s success, the food Jackson was preparing, and possibly, the guest reviews which were bringing the restaurant’s ratings down. During the shouting match, an employee reported that Goolsby drew a handgun and fired a warning shot. Jackson yelled “You, do that [expletive] again!” and Goolsby fired several times more, hitting Jackson four times, injuring him severely. Jackson died the following day at Hartford Hospital from a bullet that hit his neck.
Goolsby fled the scene with girlfriend Robitaille and hid in East Hartford at his stepfather’s home, using her car as a getaway vehicle. However, Robitaille’s conscience got to her and she surrendered to police for helping the criminal escape. On January 2, Goolsby was found in Hartford and taken into custody. He is being charged with the murder of Norris Jackson, and Robitaille will likely be found guilty of hindering prosecution for her part. Their bails are set at $1 million and $100,000 respectively and have their next court date on January 18. Police Captain Christopher Davis believes the Yelp reviews were likely a “culminating factor.”
It is a devastating loss for Jackson’s family, considering that all seven of his children no longer have a father. Jackson reportedly lived with his girlfriend and several of each of their children in Hartford, where he was native and was working the job to support the family. Jackson especially confided in his mother of his unhappiness.
Though deeply tragic, Jackson’s death will help others live, his mother, Barbara Turner reported. His organs have been harvested and will be donated; his right kidney has already saved a 49-year-old man’s life. She told authorities that at least “her son lives on in other people” and is comforted knowing that he can still help others.
Investigators are questioning the motive and if it may have actually had anything to do with the Yelp review. When Goolsby was hiding at his stepfather’s house, he apparently confessed to the murder and defended his actions, saying that Jackson was disrespectful and “because the dude got in his face.” While he admitted the act of violence would ruin his life, it is unknown whether Goolsby showed any remorse for the murder.
Per the Yelp reviews, Bonchon Chicken had received equally positive and negative feedback. While many locals seemed to love the food, others have had issues with portion sizes, flavor profiles, pricing, and the establishment’s authenticity. While Jackson had little power to changes many of these issues, it was convenient for Goolsby to blame the cook, especially considering that some of the reviews hinted that there may have been management issues with employees.
However, Goolsby ensured that people will not be dining at the restaurant anytime soon, as it has been temporarily shut down and the Yelp reviews mentioning the shooting have already begun to pour in. One regular customer claimed that although the chain’s chicken wings were the “best in the world,” he will instead frequent Popeye’s to avoid getting shot. No word on if the restaurant will ever re-open.
In response to the tragedy, the South Korean company released a statement expressing condolences and requesting that the affected family be given privacy in healing from the loss of Jackson, a son, father, and partner. His friends called him a loving family man who understandably placed other priorities over his restaurant job, which Goolsby obviously took very seriously. While is it is commendable to strive for perfection and take pride in one’s work, it should never be worth murdering over.