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A Milwaukee man is accused in the shooting death of his daughter’s best friend and co-worker following a botched robbery at a Burger King drive-thru.
Antoine Zebadiah Edwards, 41, is jailed on several charges after police say he orchestrated the robbery with his daughter (a Burger King employee) and the dead teenager.
Niesha Harris-Brazell,16, was a friend of Edwards’ daughter and a cashier at the drive-thru. She fatally shot by a third Burger King worker, who was apparently attempting to shoot Edwards during the attempted robbery on Jan. 2.
Milwaukee police had responded to a shooting at a Burger King location in the 5100 Block of Capitol Drive at approximately 10:13 p.m. that night.
There they found Brazell, who had suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was unresponsive on the floor of the fast food chain. The teen was rushed to hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Police say (in a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com) that surveillance footage shows Edwards pulling up to the Burger King’s drive-thru window at which Brazell was working in a Chevrolet Impala shortly after 10 p.m. The recording next shows Brazell removing the cash drawer from the register. Edwards, who was brandishing a semi-automatic pistol, then allegedly got out of his car and inserted his upper body through the window into the restaurant.
Derek Ellis, another Burger King employee working on the night of the robbery, then opened fire in the direction of the drive-thru window from inside the restaurant. Police said Brazell was caught in the “line of fire" and struck by several bullets fired by Ellis in Edwards’ direction.
Subsequent investigation led detectives to suspect Edwards and his daughter had possibly collaborated to stage the robbery — along with Brazell’s help — the complaint stated.
The father and daughter were both arrested and, under police questioning, admitted to planning and carrying out the robbery.
Edwards, who confessed he was the driver of the Impala, said he climbed into the Burger King’s drive-thru window because Brazell was “taking too long” to hand over the money.
Edwards’ daughter also told detectives Brazell “panicked,” and didn’t immediately turn over cash to her armed father as per the trio’s plan. Prior to shots being fired, Edwards’ daughter recalled Brazell screaming, “He’s got a gun!”
"She said a few days before the incident, she, [Brazell], and the defendant planned for the defendant to come to the drive-thru window and stage a robbery at closing time when the register was likely to have lots of money," the criminal complaint said. “[Brazell] was usually assigned to the drive-thru window, and the defendant’s daughter worked in the kitchen, so [Brazell] would be the one to hand over they money.”
Edwards’ teen daughter said the other Burger King employees weren’t aware of the robbery plot.
Edwards was charged with felony murder, contributing to the delinquency of a child resulting in death, disorderly conduct and two counts of firearm possession by a convicted felon, according to court records. He was booked into a Milwaukee County Jail on Jan. 15, online jail records show.
“[This is] serious because a child lost their life,” Judge Barry Philips said during his arraignment on Sunday, according to WDJT. “Sad because a grown up allegedly involved his child and another child in a robbery attempt.”
Public defender Evan Barrett Weitz appeared alongside Edwards for his initial court appearance on Jan. 17, though the Milwaukee man hasn’t yet been appointed official counsel according to court records. The Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office declined to comment on the matter on Tuesday when contacted by Oxygen.com.
Edwards is being held on a $105,000 bail, according to online jail records. The 41-year-old has a probable cause conference scheduled for Jan. 26, online court filings show. He hasn’t yet entered a plea. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a possible $25,000 fine.
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