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Gun Malfunction Stopped Attempted McDonald's Massacre: Police

Suspect says in jailhouse interview that he has been hearing voices and believed people were after him

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The North Texas man accused of trying to fire shots inside a crowded McDonald's restaurant until his gun malfunctioned talks to NBC 5 in a jailhouse interview. Jestin Joseph, who says he did not plan to hurt anyone, said he has been hearing voices and went to the fast food restaurant to steal a car so he could get out of town.

    Fort Worth police said the city "avoided a major tragedy" Tuesday night when a gunman tried to fire at least five shots inside crowded McDonald's restaurant but his pistol malfunctioned.

    Surveillance video released late Thursday shows Jestin Anthony Joseph, 24, pulling the trigger several times while attempting to rob customers and employees, police said.

    Incredibly, the gunman walked outside and fired his gun successfully in the air, police said. He walked back inside and tried to shoot again, but the gun again malfunctioned.

    "I've never seen a video like this before," said Fort Worth police robbery detective Joe Loughman. "My gut feeling is the city of Fort Worth and the Fort Worth police department avoided a major tragedy on Tuesday night."

    RAW VIDEO: Jestin Joseph Jailhouse Interview

    [DFW] RAW VIDEO: Jestin Joseph Jailhouse Interview
    The North Texas man accused of trying to fire shots inside a crowded McDonald's restaurant until his gun malfunctioned talks to NBC DFW in a jailhouse interview. Jestin Joseph, who says he did not plan to hurt anyone, said he has been hearing voices and went to the fast food restaurant to steal a car so he could get out of town.

    Joseph entered the McDonald's located at 4800 South Freeway in Fort Worth just after 9 p.m. and asked a cashier for a water cup, police said. He then walked over to the water fountain, where witnesses said he was mumbling to himself before showing his weapon.

    "I walked into McDonald's, asked for water, went to the machine and, as soon as I did, dude said something to me. That's when I pulled the gun, and I lost it," Joseph told NBC DFW in a jailhouse interview Thursday afternoon.

    Joseph, who said the gun was loaded but not cocked, said he had no plans to hurt anyone.

    Joseph said he started hearing voices Sunday night and continues to hear them.

    He said he has never been treated for mental illness.

    Joseph added he was angry, believed people were after him, and had gone to the McDonald's to steal a car to get out of town.

    Asked if there was a better way to handle his anger, he answered, "No."

    The customers and employees were "severely traumatized" by the incident but the gunman was "calm" afterwards, Loughman said.

    One customer tussled briefly with the gunman. An employee tried to reason with him -- even as the gun was pointed at his head, police said.

    Patrol officers arrested him walking nearby without incident.

    Joseph is being held in the Mansfield Jail on five charges of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon. His bond is set at $500,000. Fort Worth contracts with Mansfield to hold inmates.

    "I can't explain it," he said in his interview. "People are going to think I'm crazy. It's whatever."

    NBC 5's Eric King contributed to this report.