‘You are going to die today’ — Man allegedly attacked 2 Mariano’s workers who said he had to pay for his hot bar food before eating

A Chicago man faces felony charges after he allegedly attacked two Mariano’s workers who asked him to pay for his hot bar food items before eating them in the cafe area at the grocery chain’s downtown location. One victim was reportedly knocked unconscious.

Keith Clemons, 38, selected several items from the hot food line on Wednesday, then skipped the check-out lane and started chowing down at one of the dining tables at the 333 East Benton Place location, prosecutors said.

Keith Clemons (inset) and the Mariano’s at 333 East Benton Place. | CPD; Google

A loss prevention worker and her supervisor informed Clemons of the pay-first policy.

“Are you f*cking kidding me?” Clemons responded. He then allegedly stood up and told the loss prevention worker, “You are going to die today.”

He punched the loss prevention worker in the face repeatedly then punched the supervisor in the face, too, according to the allegations. Prosecutors said the supervisor’s head hit a table as he fell to the floor and he lost consciousness.

Clemons then returned to his table and started eating again.

As he dined, another store employee found the loss prevention agent bleeding from the face and a witness pepper sprayed Clemons.

Clemons got up, threw a table at the person who pepper sprayed him, then threw more tables at the loss prevention agent and her supervisor, prosecutors said.

He then grabbed his sweater and left the store. A Mariano’s employee followed Clemons and police arrested him nearby.

The loss prevention agent suffered abrasions on her neck and eye. Doctors stitched up her lip. The supervisor who lost consciousness reported head pain and had a swollen face.

Clemons is on bail for retail theft and obstruction of identification. He is also on conditional discharge for a simple battery case.

Prosecutors said he has been convicted of 14 misdemeanors since 2012, including four battery cases. He was also convicted of felony aggravated battery of a peace officer in 2020 and received a three-year sentence.

He is now charged with two counts of felony aggravated battery of a merchant.

An assistant public defender said Clemons may have mental health conditions.

Judge Kelly McCarthy set his bail at $75,000. Clemons must post 10% of that to go home on electronic monitoring. She also set bail at $30,000 each for violating the conditional discharge and violating bail bond.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com