Negative Restaurant Review Leads To Drive-By Shooting
Bad experiences with businesses used to travel by word-of-mouth. In the digital age, that word-of-mouth review spreads faster than it used to once it goes online. When that bad review goes viral, it can all but shut down a business after customers and the public decide to boycott and avoid the business.
In the case of one local restaurant, that bad online review ultimately led to a drive-by shooting in Orange County.
An Unhappy Dining Experience
According to the police report, review writer Monica Walley claimed the Daybreak Diner, one of her mother’s favorite places, refused her disabled mother service on her birthday. After her mother returned home visibly upset, Ms. Walley called the restaurant for answers. She spoke with several of the employees, who she claimed were “unnecessarily rude.”
After the unsatisfactory response, Ms. Walley posted a negative review on Facebook about her mother’s mistreatment due to her disability. That launched a social media campaign which spread and increased the number of negative reviews, social media postings, and angry phone calls to the restaurant. Owner Lizabeth Johnson believed her business was “ruined” as a result of Ms. Walley’s negative social media campaign.
A Plot For Retaliation
The owner’s son, Michael Johnson, his roommate Jesse Martin, and Norman Auvil were upset about the review and the aftermath. Johnson and his girlfriend, Stephanie Knight, both worked at the diner. Upset over the review and the damage to the business, and after consuming alcohol, the three decided to look up Monica Walley’s address online.
With Johnson driving and Martin accompanying them, the three men went to Ms. Walley’s place. Auvil fired three shots into her home, missing her father by a few inches. Both Johnson and Martin told investigators that Auvil was prone to outbursts, and they have been concerned for their own safety.
Auvil was arrested and placed on a $4,300 bond, charged with shooting into a building, shooting from a vehicle and abuse of a disabled person. Court records indicate that he is seeking a public defender.
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