Memorial held for Miami Gardens Chili’s cook killed in shooting

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - Heartbroken colleagues and family members came together to remember an employee of a Chili’s restaurant in Miami Gardens, one day after, police said, he was fatally gunned down inside the business.

Dozens of friends, managers and coworkers of Lester Reid held candles as they gathered in front of the restaurant, located at at 19801 N.W. 2 Ave., Tuesday evening.

“To his family, his kids, his loved ones, he will never be forgotten. He is engraved in our hearts forever,” said one mourner.

“Lester was a great guy, a hard worker,” said J.P., one of Reid’s coworkers.

The memorial took place hours after the man accused of firing the fatal shots, 31-year-old Arturo Exum, was escorted into jail. He had turned himself in to police on Tuesday morning.

According to Miami Gardens Police, it all started with an argument between Reid and a female employee inside the Chili’s, Monday morning. Detectives said Reid, who, according to colleagues was a cook at the restaurant, had a disagreement with the coworker, who then called Exum, her boyfriend.

Investigators said Exum came into the restaurant at around 2:30 p.m. and opened fire, striking Reid multiple times.

Paramedics rushed Reid, 36, to Aventura Hospital, where he later died.

The victim left behind a wife and eight children. “It’s sad that this happened to him. He was a good guy, always trying to provide for his family,” said J.P.

“Sadly, this thing happened to him, but he was a good guy,” said another coworker of Reid’s. “Always wanted to provide for his family and all.”

The loss is being felt far beyond South Florida. His brother, Andre Reid, spoke to 7News on the phone from New Jersey.

“It’s so hard for my family. That’s my only brother,” he said.

Andre Reid and his brother, Lester
Andre Reid and his brother, Lester

Andre said his sibling was an easygoing and fun-loving guy, known for his candor.

Reid’s family is still in disbelief, after finding out about the murder on social media. “I saw on Facebook, this girl put it up on Facebook, that he got shot,'” said Andre.

The family is now planning funeral arrangements for the married father of eight.

His alleged killer, who was on probation for a violent crime, is being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. He faces a charge of first-degree murder.

“It’s crazy. He took a good man away from his family, from his kids,” said Andre. “He took a good man away from us.”

In a statement issued on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Chili’s said, “We are shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic situation and the loss of one of our team members … We are doing everything we can to fully cooperate with the police and fire rescue teams who were so quick to respond.”

The restaurant will remain closed on Wednesday. Company officials said they will be providing counseling for employees.

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