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Accused Church's Chicken shooter appears in court

Posted at 12:04 PM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 15:04:44-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) -- A man accused of killing a Church’s Chicken employee and severely injuring two others in Otay Mesa in 2019 appeared in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing.

During the hearing, a woman who was at the drive-thru window when the gunfire erupted described seeing a man holding a gun and pointing it at employees.

The defendant, Albert Blake, did not show much emotion as he listened to witnesses describe what happened on Nov. 6, 2019. Blake is accused of fatally shooting employee Maribel Merino-Ibañez and shooting two other workers in the restaurant on Del Sol Boulevard.

Investigators say the incident began when Blake tried to use a fake $100 bill to pay for his food. Witnesses said he became angry when Ibañez wouldn’t accept it. According to witnesses, Blake left, but he returned 10 minutes later and started shooting at employees in the restaurant.

The woman who was at the drive-thru said after hearing the shots, her and her husband drove off. She said she saw the shooter leave and they came back to help.

At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, a judge will decide if there’s enough evidence to go forward with a trial.

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