Niesha Harris-Brazell killed in Botched Burger King Milwaukee robbery. Teen girl accidentally shot dead by co worker with gun responding to staged drive thru heist by victim’s co-worker best friend and her father.
Niesha Harris-Brazell, 16, was working a shift with her best friend, Mariah Edwards, on January 2, when she was found fatally shot inside the fast-food restaurant just on closing time. It is thought that the girl’s best friend’s father had acted as the robber.
Just a few minutes prior, surveillance footage caught a man in a red hoodie and a facemask waving a pistol around and demanding money as Harris-Brazell frantically took money out of the cash register and cried for help.
But when authorities reviewed surveillance footage taken from another camera within the fast food joint, they discovered the ‘robber’ never opened fire, according to court documents, first obtained by FOX 6 News.
Instead, the shot was fired from within the Burger King, and Milwaukee police are now searching for Harris-Brazell’s co-worker, Derrick Ellis, 34, who apparently tried to shoot at the robber and inadvertently hit Harris-Brazell.
During the ensuing investigation, police discovered Mariah’s father, Antoine, was allegedly the man in the red hoodie.
He is alleged to have concocted the robbery with Harris-Brazell and his daughter.
Antoine, 41, is now facing charges of felony murder, intentionally contributing to the delinquency of a child with death a a consequence and possession of a firearm by a felon, while Ellis is facing murder charges.
It is unclear what charges Mariah may face.
According to the criminal complaint, surveillance footage from inside the Burger King showed a Chevy Impala vehicle pull up to the drive-thru window shortly after 10pm on January 2.
The driver, now believed to be Antoine Edwards, then knocked on the window several times until a ‘juvenile male employee’ responded. The two reportedly spoke for a moment, before Edwards pulls away.
After the car left the window, Mariah said she and Harris-Brazell called his phone to confirm that was him, and about three minutes later, the same Impala and driver reappeared at the window.
‘He’s got a gun’
Harris-Brazell then promptly opened the window, and quickly backed away from it so she was not in view of the driver as she starts taking out cash and calls out to other employees, ‘He’s got a gun.’
A short time later, the driver steps out of the car and crawls through the drive-thru window holding a semiautomatic pistol, waving it at Harris-Brazell. Antoine said he decided to do so because he thought Harris-Brazell was taking too long to get him his money.
Surveillance footage then shows that the driver quickly ducked and pulled himself out of the window, while Harris-Brazell fell to the ground according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
In the ensuing investigation, police found other surveillance footage from inside the fast-food outlet showing Ellis responding to Harris-Brazell’s call for help, pulling out a gun and firing two shots at the thief.
He was then seen scrambling to pick up the shell casings from he floor, and was filmed running to the store manager who helped him stow the weapon in the store’s safe before he fled. He has not been seen since.
The store manager reportedly told authorities that Ellis usually comes to work with a weapon, and they helped him hide it because he is a convicted felon who is not allowed to possess a gun.
Investigators say they then learned he driver of the Impala was Antoine Edwards, whose daughter Mariah was working in the kitchen at the time.
Mariah allegedly confessed that she, her father and Harris-Brazell coordinated the robbery at a time when they expected the register to be filled with cash. She claimed she and her father got Harris-Brazell involved in the scheme because she worked at the drive-thru window.
She claimed it was never part of the plan for Ellis to come to their aid, or for Harris-Brazell to die.
Antoine also allegedly confessed to the scheme, but said his daughter was not involved and that Harris-Brazell was his only accomplice.
Both father and daughter have now been arrested, as Harris-Brazell’s mother, Liceala Brazell, continues to claim her daughter was innocent.
‘It’s really making me mad, it’s making me angry,’ she said of the Edwards’ claims, noting that they have told so many lies.
And speaking directly to Mariah, Liceala said: ‘That’s not going to help you, that’s not going to help your father.’
In the aftermath of the fatal shooting, a GoFundMe was set up by Hazel-Brazell’s sister that took in more than $40,000.
A local restaurateur also led fundraising efforts for her family, raking in donations from the Milwaukee Brewers’ Christian Yellich and Green Bay Packers icon Donald Driver.
Following the news that she may have staged the robbery, the restaurant owner, Omar Shaikh told FOX 6 News: ‘It wasn’t the news I wanted to hear, but I don’t regret it. You still have a family who lost a 16-year-old daughter.
‘I know a lot of families that live in certain areas don’t have a lot for reserves, don’t have money for a funeral.
‘I think the heart was in the right place and that family is suffering right now.’
He added that nobody has asked for their donations back.