“A heinous, callous act” is the way Prince William County Police Chief Barry Barnard described the overnight double-shooting at a Manassas Denny’s Thursday that claimed the life of a 56-year-old food-delivery man and left a restaurant patron with serious injuries.
During an afternoon press conference, Barnard described the events leading up to the shootings and said police now believe the suspects – who remained at large Thursday afternoon – might have been involved in three earlier armed robberies at Manassas-area businesses in recent days.
Barnard also announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the two suspects and decried what he repeatedly called a “heinous, callous” crime.
“You ought to be able to eat in a restaurant, comfortably, safely, and not have to have people come in and then rob and shoot people who are fully cooperating,” Barnard said. “It’s just a callous, heinous act.”
Barnard said the man who was killed, Yusuf Ozgur, 56, of Manassas, was shot while he was arriving at the restaurant, located at 8201 Sudley Road.
The suspects were leaving the restaurant as Ozgur was opening the door. Ozgur was working for a food-delivery service, which police did not identify, and was shot while opening the door to the restaurant, Barnard said.
One suspect hit Ozgur over the head with a baton and the other shot him, Barnard said.
Ozgur was transported to an area hospital where he died of his wounds later Thursday morning.
The first person shot by the suspects, a 34-year-old Rixeyville man, was at the restaurant eating with other people when the gunman shot him in the upper torso, Barnard said.
The man, who police have not identified, was sitting on the floor, fully cooperating with the suspects’ demands, Barnard said.
The man is expected to survive his injuries, according to updated information police provided during Barnard’s press conference.
Twenty-three people – both patrons and employees – were in the restaurant when the shootings occurred. The suspects ordered the patrons and employees to the ground while demanding their cell phones and wallets. The suspects further demanded money from the business, but apparently left the restaurant without taking anything, Barnard said.
The suspects fled on foot shortly after shooting the second victim, Ozgur. The men were only in the restaurant “a few minutes,” Barnard said.
Officers, including a police K-9 and troopers from the Virginia State Police, arrived at the Denny’s restaurant at 2:25 a.m. They searched for the suspects, who were not located.
The suspects have been described by witnesses as two black males in their late teens or early 20s. Both are between 5’10” and 6 feet tall and weigh about 180 pounds. They were last seen wearing all black or dark colored clothing.
Police released a video of the two men that shows them entering the restaurant and immediately brandishing a handgun. The video does not include sound, but people can be seen lying on the floor as the men walk through the restaurant.
Barnard said the suspects’ descriptions, actions, weapons used and time and location of the incidents led police to believe the suspects might have been involved in armed robberies that occurred at Bowl America, the Comfort Inn and Walgreens in recent days.
If they are connected, the suspects have “increased their level of violence,” Barnard said.
Barnard urged anyone with even the smallest bit of information that could be related to the robberies to call police and report it.
“It doesn’t matter how insignificant you think the information is. Let us evaluate that,” Barnard said. “We often solve crimes with just a little bit of information.”
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Prince William County Police Department tip line at 703.792.7000 or submit a webtip to: www.pwcgov.org/policetip.
Police provided descriptions of the earlier incidents they now believe are related to the Denny's double-shooting:
On Tuesday, Dec. 24, at 12:10 a.m., officers responded to the Walgreens at 14095 Jefferson Davis Highway in Woodbridge to investigate a robbery. A store employee reported that two masked men entered the business and approached the counter.
During the encounter, one of the suspects brandished a firearm and escorted an employee to the back office where he demanded money. The other suspect demanded money from the cash registers. Both suspects fled on foot prior to police arriving at the business. No injuries were reported. A police K-9 searched for the suspects who were not located.
On Monday, Dec. 23 at 1:13 a.m., officers responded to the Comfort Inn Suites at 7530 Williamson Boulevard in Manassas to investigate a robbery.
An employee told police two unknown men entered the hotel lobby where one suspect went to the back office and approached an employee. During the encounter, the suspect brandished a firearm and demanded money. The second suspect went behind the counter, opened the cash register and took money before both men fled on foot.
No injuries were reported. Officers, including a police K-9 and helicopter assistance from Fairfax County police, searched the area for the suspects who were not located.
On Saturday, Dec. 21 at 1:02 a.m., officers responded to the Bowl America located at 10641 Balls Ford Road in Manassas to investigate a robbery. The manager reported to police that the business was closed with employees still inside, when two masked men entered and approached the counter.
During the encounter, one of the suspects brandished a firearm and demanded money from the cash registers. The other suspect pulled out a baton and retrieved the money from the cash registers. Both suspects fled on foot prior to police arriving at the business. No injuries were reported. A police K-9 searched for the suspects who were not located.