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Knife-wielding panhandler shot in elbow says customer hit him in face with soda can

Adam Childers, 36, shot during dispute at Salad World Grill
Adam Childers appears in court
Posted at 2:49 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 14:49:43-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A 36-year-old knife-wielding man who was shot in the elbow during a confrontation at a restaurant near West Palm Beach claimed he was hit in the face with a soda can while panhandling customers, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Adam Childers was arrested Tuesday on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Teri Barbera said Childers was shot in the elbow at Salad World Grill in the Coco Plum Plaza near Military Trail and Community Drive.

According to the affidavit, Childers had been panhandling outside the business earlier in the day when an unidentified employee asked him to leave. Childers called him a name, threatened to "kick his ass" and then left, only to return about an hour later.

Noticing that Childers was in a dispute with a customer outside, the employee attempted to intervene when Childers pulled out a knife and threatened to kill him, the affidavit said.

As the altercation escalated, the employee pulled out a gun and warned Childers that he needed to leave, but Childers continued to swing the knife at him, so he fired at Childers in self-defense, the report said.

Childers ran to a nearby Pizza Hut, still armed with the knife, the report said. He was later taken to St. Mary's Medical Center to be treated for the gunshot wound.

Pizza Hut shooting at Coco Plum Plaza, Aug. 24, 2021
Crime scene tape surrounds a Pizza Hut at the Coco Plum Plaza, Aug. 24, 2021, near West Palm Beach, Fla.

During an interview with a detective, Childers claimed he had gotten into an argument with a customer when the man "struck him in the face with a soda can." That led Childers to pull out his knife, he told the detective.

"Childers then said he was shot while running and holding his knife," the report said.

Deputies later located the knife at the Pizza Hut.

After he was released from the hospital, Childers was booked into the main Palm Beach County jail.

Childers appeared in court Wednesday morning, where a judge set his bond at $20,000, told him not to have any contact with the restaurant or victim and ordered him not to have any weapons.