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3 Fast Food Workers Killed in Tenn.

July 13, 2000 GMT

SMYRNA, Tenn. (AP) _ Three fast-food workers were shot to death Wednesday in an apparent robbery after they closed the restaurant for the night, police said.

The body of a teen-age employee was found about 2:30 a.m. in the driver’s seat of a car outside a discount store behind the Captain D’s restaurant, Sgt. Scott Byers said. Signs that the man worked at the seafood restaurant led police inside, where the bodies of Captain D’s Manager Scott Myers, 42, and another man were found in a cooler.

The victims’ families met Wednesday morning with police and grief counselors.

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``If it was a robbery and they gave them the money, why not just leave everyone alone? Why would someone do this?″ asked Billie Snell, whose 18-year-old son William Troy Snell was found dead inside his car.

She said he had taken the restaurant job three months earlier to pay for the car and its insurance.

Betty Marshall, a spokeswoman for Shoney’s Inc., the parent company of Captain D’s, called the shootings ``a terrible tragedy.″

The restaurant where the shootings occurred is in a business district of Smyrna, 20 miles southeast of Nashville along Interstate 24.

Abe Hasan, owner of a gas station next to the Captain D’s, said police asked for the tapes from video cameras inside the store and at the gas pumps for possible clues.

He said when he left the station at 11:30 p.m., ``I saw nothing unusual.″

The slayings reminded some of a series of deadly restaurant robberies across the state in 1997.

Paul Reid, a part-time cook, had terrorized Middle Tennessee, killing seven fast-food workers at three restaurants over a three-month period. Two victims worked at a Captain D’s in suburban Nashville.

``I was scared to death after the Paul Reid incidents,″ said Angie Ryman, 21, who works at a McDonald’s with her fiance. ``Today, we’re going to look for other jobs.″

Reid was convicted of all seven murders and received seven death sentences, the most ever in Tennessee.

Many fast-food restaurants in the Nashville area improved their security after the 1997 murders, including earlier work hours for teens, more workers at night and video cameras.

Marshall wouldn’t discuss the security at the Captain D’s or the company’s other restaurants Wednesday, saying it might jeopardize the investigation.