Police in Oxon Hill, Md., say the fight broke out at about 7 p.m. on Monday after the victim allegedly cut in line ahead of the suspect during the dinner rush at Popeyes. The line was specifically designated for customers to buy the Popeyes chicken sandwich, which returned to stores on Sunday after a months-long hiatus.
The two men started arguing and the fight spilled out into the street, according to Prince George’s County police spokeswoman Jennifer Donelan.
The 28-year-old victim was fatally stabbed outside the restaurant. He was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“For you to get angry over anything … and to delve into this type of violence, again, is a very sad and tragic day,” Donelan said at a news conference.
No arrests have been made.
“We are looking for a male, and that male knows who he is,” Donelan said. “He knows what he did here tonight, and he needs to do the right thing and he needs to step up and turn himself in.”
Popeyes has not commented publicly on the incident.
However, an employee who witnessed the stabbing said she was shocked that it was all over a sandwich.
“It’s grown people,” the unnamed employee told NBC News. “That’s just dumb. You’re grown, fighting over a chicken sandwich. That’s some little kid stuff.”
Popeyes has been enjoying tremendous success with its new chicken sandwich, which became a viral sensation in the U.S. over the summer. It launched on Aug. 12 and was entirely sold out by September.
The ingredients are fairly simple: a piece of Popeyes’ fried chicken on a brioche bun, topped with sweet pickles and regular or spicy mayonnaise.
Popeyes beefed up its supply chain and relaunched the sandwich last Sunday — the only day of the week that its chief rival, Chick-fil-A, does not do business.
This appears to be the first death associated with the chicken sandwich, although it’s not the first time the law has become involved.
A group of hungry people allegedly demanded the sold-out sandwich at gunpoint in earlier September at a Houston restaurant.
Another man in Tennessee filed a lawsuit against Popeyes after the sandwich was sold out.
“I can’t get happy. I have this sandwich on my mind,” the man told a local paper at the time. “I can’t think straight. It just consumes you.”
The sandwich is still not available in Canada.