The Milwaukee Burger King employee accused of accidentally shooting his 16-year-old coworker is in custody and charged with homicide

Niesha N. Harris-Brazell

The Burger King employee accused of accidentally shooting 16-year-old Niesha Harris-Brazell has turned himself in to authorities while prosecutors filed a new homicide charge against him.

Before Thursday, Derrick D. Ellis, 34, of Milwaukee, faced only a felony charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted out-of-state felon. But after turning himself in Tuesday, he now faces an additional charge of homicide by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon, which comes with a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Ellis had been sought by police for more than two weeks after he allegedly shot at a robbery suspect while working at Burger King, 5120 W. Capitol Drive, and inadvertently hit and killed Harris-Brazell.

More: Milwaukee rally demands safer working conditions for fast-food workers after shooting death of 16-year-old cashier

Last week, the robbery suspect, Antoine Z. Edwards, was charged with felony murder and intentionally contributing to the delinquency of a child with death as a consequence — another felony.

Edwards and his own 16-year-old daughter, who is described as Harris-Brazell’s best friend, told police they coordinated with Harris-Brazell to stage the robbery in order to steal money, according to the criminal complaint.

The document showed no additional evidence Harris-Brazell conspired with the two on the staged robbery, and her family has argued she had no reason to steal money.

Ellis was not in on the staged robbery and fired at the suspect after seeing him leaning into a drive-thru window and waving a gun around in the direction of Harris-Brazell.

Edwards and his daughter did not tell police it was part of the plan for Edwards to lean into the window. Edwards said he did so because Harris-Brazell, who was working the drive-thru register, did not immediately hand over the cash, court documents said.

The incident occurred the evening of Jan. 2, shortly after the restaurant closed.

Ellis and Edwards are in Milwaukee County jail. As of Thursday morning, Ellis did not have a first court appearance scheduled. Edwards’ cash bail was set at $100,000 on Sunday.

According to court records:

Surveillance camera footage shows that as Harris-Brazell alerted other coworkers to the robbery, a manager at the restaurant called out to Ellis, who usually carried a gun with him to work.

Ellis peered around a door into the drive-thru window area as the robbery suspect waived a gun around. From about 20 feet away, Ellis pressed his body against the door and fired one-handed from around the corner of the door.

Harris-Brazell stood in between Ellis and the suspect. She suffered gunshot wounds to her chest.

Initially, investigators were uncertain whether the robbery suspect returned fire and whose gunshots had struck Harris-Brazell. But court documents indicate there is no sign the suspect ever fired his gun.

Following the shooting, Ellis is seen on camera crawling on the floor to collect casings ejected from his gun. He then asked the restaurant manager, his live-in girlfriend, to hide the gun in a safe at the restaurant because he was barred from possessing it.

The manager later opened the safe for police and recovered a .380 caliber pistol inside. The casings have not been recovered.

Contact Elliot Hughes at or 414-704-8958. Follow him on Twitter @elliothughes12.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee Burger King employee charged with homicide in death of teen