Sister of man killed in Taco Bell drive-thru says he was murdered

Posted: Updated:
Daniel Adkins was shot and killed outside a Taco Bell in South Phoenix. By Jennifer Thomas Daniel Adkins was shot and killed outside a Taco Bell in South Phoenix. By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Was it self-defense or murder? That's what Phoenix police are trying to figure out after an unarmed man was shot and killed outside a Taco Bell drive-thru in South Phoenix.

Daniel Adkins, 29, was with his dog, Lady, when he was killed in the exchange.

"He was very very charming, down to earth, loved kids," said Adkins' sister, Marina Reyes.

Reyes said Adkins had the mental capacity of a 12-year-old. Police said that Adkins was walking around a corner and the man in the car had to quickly stop from hitting him. Then they exchanged words.

"I just saw him hit the car with an object," said a man who was in line right behind the shooter and just wants to be known as Alex. "I don't know if it was a hand or an object, hit the car. He came close to the window and the man in the drive-thru opened fire."

The shooter fired one time, killing Adkins. The driver had a pregnant woman in the passenger seat, according to Alex, and he believes the shooting may have been justified.

"Just due to the fact that why would a person be coming at you in your window when you're paying for food?" Alex said. "It was him, his girlfriend, wife -- she was pregnant -- so I would feel like maybe our lives were in danger."

But Reyes said it was the 22-year-old driver who was the aggressive one.

"My brother is not known to be charging at people, especially people he doesn't even know," Reyes said.

She said there were a number of options the driver could have taken instead.

"If you felt so threatened, why didn't you just roll up the window?" Reyes said. "Why was the window down? Call 911. But he took it to his own, and he just came out and just shot him."

The shooter, whose identity has not been released, did call 911. He was questioned and released but could face charges, according to Phoenix police.