A wrongful death lawsuit filed earlier this month alleges that a security guard posted at a Rio Rancho Whataburger fatally shot an unarmed customer in December after a confrontation at the drive-through window.
David Wayne Tenorio died of his injuries weeks after the Dec. 3 shooting at the burger chain’s N.M. 528 location.
The lawsuit filed in state District Court in Santa Fe on Oct. 13 alleges that someone riding in a truck “engaged in an exchange of belligerent comments” with an employee in the drive-through.
An employee then told Joe Archuleta, the store security guard, who was working for No Stone Unturned Security, which contracted with Whataburger, to “take care” of the truck occupants. Tenorio, who was unarmed, was a passenger in the vehicle.
The lawsuit alleges the truck was still in the restaurant parking lots, and the security guard pointed a gun at the group and ordered them to get out. Tenorio stepped out of the truck, as ordered. And at some point, the suit alleges, Archuleta shot him.
The lawsuit suggests the security guard did not carry the correct firearm certification to work as an armed guard. And it argues that No Stone Unturned Security may not have held the appropriate license and registration to operate as a private patrol company.
The family is seeking compensation for funeral expenses, pain and suffering, lost earning capacity and lost enjoyment of life, among other damages. Named as defendants are Archuleta, No Stone Unturned Security and Whataburger.
The suit alleges Whataburger did not properly vet the security company and shouldn’t have allowed its employees to “antagonize and provoke a customer.”
A spokeswoman for Whataburger said in a statement that the company is “committed to offering a safe restaurant,” and as part of that commitment “engage national security guard firms at many of our restaurants in the communities we serve, including Rio Rancho.” She said the company can’t comment on the specifics of the incident because a lawsuit is pending.
Multiple attempts to reach No Stone Unturned Security were unsuccessful.
And the attorney representing Tenorio’s family was unavailable.