McDonald's Hostage Situation In Australia Ends In Fatal Shooting

On Friday, a shirtless man was shot in the Australian city of Logan after emerging from a McDonald's with a knife. The Australian reports that officers demanded that he drop the knife. When he continued to approach, they responded with at least three gunshots. He was taken to hospital but died from the wounds.

Before entering the McDonald's location, the man had reportedly brandished his knife at other businesses. While inside the McDonald's, however, the man had held one worker hostage at knifepoint, demanding that they empty the cash register. Ultimately, however, no one else was physically harmed. 

As the Australian Broadcasting Corporation details, the Crime and Corruption Commission will head an investigation of the incident. Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll maintains that the officers involved made the right call: "If you have the training like I have and all police officers, knives are just as dangerous as guns if not more so."

A wider issue

There is certainly a specific story behind the incident covered by The Australian. But as usual with violent crime stories at McDonald's, it's somewhat helpful to note that while individual cases will have their own specifics, they arguably form part of a larger pattern. In fact, on Thursday – the day before the Queensland incident – another man threatened a McDonald's worker with a knife. According to Maui News, the man walked into a McDonald's and ordered a coffee but claimed not to have money to pay for it. When the worker refused to fill the order for free, the man allegedly got hostile, pulled out a knife, and began shouting. In this case, though, he was arrested and charged with first-degree terroristic threatening.

One can point out that with so many McDonald's restaurants dotted around the world, it is probably inevitable that such cases will break out. However, in 2019, the non-profit National Employment Law Enforcement published a report that looked into crimes committed against McDonald's workers. Among other things, it found that a single McDonald's had called 9-1-1 a total of 1,356 times in just three years. McDonald's is not just an isolated case. Inside Edition learned from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that between 2012 and 2017, assaults against fast food workers doubled. It is little wonder, then, that when NPR covered the labor shortage in 2021, rude customer behavior was cited as a reason that many workers were fleeing the restaurant industry.