Police: Man Killed Execution-Style Inside Applebee’s

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. (CBS) — The search is on for a killer who walked into a New Jersey restaurant and fatally shot a customer at the bar.

It happened at the Applebee’s on Route One, Brunswick Pike, in Lawrenceville, Mercer County.

Police say the shooting was a very deliberate act and carried out with no regard for who was watching.

There was only about a half-hour left until closing at the Applebee’s near the Quaker Bridge Mall when police say an execution-style murder occurred around 12:25 a.m.

Lawrence Township police got the call that a man walked in with a gun, approached another man sitting at the bar, and shot him in the head.

“They saw an individual suffering from an apparent gun shot wound to the head. The individual is in his early to mid 20s, the victim,” said Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri.

Authorities say the victim is 23-year-old Devin Smith of Lawrence Township. Police say he died in the restaurant, but have not released any details about a possible motive.

The shooter, who police could only describe as a black male in his 20s, fled before police arrived.

“He exited the Applebee’s and entered a dark-colored SUV,” said Onofri.

The Mercer County Homicide Task Force, as well as New Jersey State Police and Lawrence Township Departments, are all investigating. A police K-9 searched around the parking lot for clues as the restaurant remained closed all day.

Customer at the Dunkin’ Donuts right next door couldn’t believe such a violent and seemingly calculated attack happened at a popular restaurant.

“I’m speechless about that,” said one customer.

“It’s just so sad. I mean, nothing is safe anymore, not even in a restaurant, that’s just so sad,” said another.

There is no word how many employees and customers were present at the time of the shooting, but it wasn’t long after Monday Night Football and a late Sixers game wrapped up.

“I can’t imagine the people that were in there, that’s pretty scary,” said Crystal Bing of Lawrence Township. “Hopefully they figure out who did it.”

Police say they have several leads, but, so far, no arrests. Anyone with information should call police.

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