PHOENIX — Right after turning 16-years-old, Brian Durham Jr. got his first job at Wendy’s. Four months later he was shot in the head by a customer.
“He went to work that day, you know happy,” said the teen's father, Brian Durham Sr. “But he never expected to be shot.”
Phoenix police said the shooting stemmed from an argument at the drive-thru window of the fast-food restaurant on 19th Avenue and Glendale Road on Thursday night.
Durham Sr. said his son was at the cash register, in between the window and another employee, when the customer asked for more barbeque sauce.
“So, the dude on the outside tells him, ‘no, you [have] to pay for it,’ so he started getting louder,” Durham Sr. said. “The [suspect] got up, out of his car, walked up to the window and just shot… didn’t care about life.”
Durham Jr. was rushed to the hospital in critical condition but was later taken to Phoenix’s Children’s Hospital where he underwent a five-hour surgery, Durham Sr. said.
“They said how the bullet fragments [hit his brain], they don’t know how his speech is going to be,” Durham Sr. said. “They give him commands and he moves his fingers and toes but can’t talk.”
Durham Jr. got the job at Wendy's because he wanted to help his mother with bills while being a full-time student, Durham Sr. said.
About 20 hours after the shooting, police arrested and booked Theotis Polk, 27, in connection to the crime and he is facing aggravated assault charges.
“I forgive him, but I can’t forget,” said Durham Sr. minutes after getting the call from detectives about the suspect’s arrest. “They caught him, my son is living, and I’m just happy.”
The family is looking for a speedy recovery, in hopes that Durham Jr. can fulfill his dream of joining the military in the future.
“We are just going to take it one day at a time, and work with him, but it’s going to be affecting his life, the scar will be a reminder that he was shot,” Durham Sr. said.
The family is asking for support to help with medical bills and created a GoFundMe account.
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