Alabama restaurant manager fatally shot by husband of employee, police say

DAPHNE, Ala. — A restaurant manager in southwestern Alabama was fatally shot in what police are calling a targeted attack while he was opening the business on Thursday.

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Jason Michael Mallette, 38, of Daphne, the manager at Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe in Daphne, was shot in the chest after he was confronted by another man outside of the restaurant at about 5:30 a.m. CDT, reported.

“There was some brief conversation. I’ll put it that way,” Daphne Police Chief Brian Gulsby told reporters, according to WPMI-TV. “I wouldn’t classify it as an argument.”

Police said Mallette was at the back entrance to the restaurant and arrived along with a female employee, WALA-TV reported.

After Mallette was shot, the assailant fled the scene, according to the television station.

The other employee, who was not injured, called 911, WALA reported.

Mobile County deputies, acting on tips from video surveillance and witness statements, arrested Travis Dante Orlando Lofton Sr., 41, of Mobile, according to the news outlet. Lofton was arrested at his residence in the Toulminville neighborhood of the city.

Lofton has been charged with murder, according to

In a statement, the Daphne Police Department called the shooting “a targeted attack,” WPMI reported.

“Lofton’s wife is a Taziki’s employee and there was an apparent grievance with the victim,” police said. “Whether that was actual or perceived, remains under investigation.

During his arrest, a weapon was found in Lofton’s vehicle, according to the sheriff’s office.

“Our hearts are broken with the loss of Jason Mallette. He was a joyous member of the Taziki’s family and will be in our hearts and minds as we move forward with opening our restaurant tomorrow,” Debbie Curtis and Bobby Touchton, the owners of Taziki’s, said in a statement. “Losing him is hard and, while everyone grieves differently, our team has expressed that they are ready to return to work and serve our loyal Taziki’s guests. We will continue to pray for his family as we lean into our faith.”

Lofton is being held at the Baldwin County Jail, online booking records show.