DECATUR – Jason A. White, a former restaurant manager who was arrested for allegedly shooting at messy patrons, has been charged with two felony counts, including Class X armed habitual criminal, for possessing a firearm with two prior felony convictions.
White, 26, the night manager at IHOP, 1280 E. Pershing Road, at the time of his arrest, is being held in the Macon County Jail on $50,000 bond.
He appeared Wednesday morning before Associate Judge Phoebe Bowers, dressed in a black-and-gray striped jail jumpsuit. She found him to be indigent and assigned a public defender to represent him.
If convicted of armed habitual criminal, White is facing six to 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, to be served at a minimum of 85 percent.
He is also charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm, a Class 1 felony punishable by four to 15 years in prison. If convicted of that charge, that would also be an 85 percent sentencing.
White, who was hired by IHOP to give him another chance despite his background, is no longer employed by the company, said Luis Pinedo, the company's area director of operations.
“We don't allow our managers to take any kind of action like that,” Pinedo said. “We don't allow people to shoot at people. That is one of those things that is not going to be tolerated.”
White was arrested about 6:50 Sunday morning at the restaurant. Witnesses told police that a group of patrons was asked to leave by staff members "after they made a mess," according to a court document. The group was composed of two women and one man, between 18 and 20 years old.
The male patron told police the manager "pulled a gun on the group and chased them into the parking lot and fired a single gunshot, which appeared to be in his direction as they were fleeing to their vehicle."
Police said a cellphone video showed White "walking towards the front lobby with a gun in his right hand."
A stolen semiautomatic .40-caliber pistol was later found on the premises, which police said White admitted he had brandished.
Armed habitual criminal is charged when a defendant with two prior felony convictions possesses a firearm. White has four prior felony convictions, including a 2010 case in which he possessed a shotgun while on parole.
White has served four prior terms in prison. He was most recently released on parole on Sept. 29, 2015, after serving one year of a two-year term for forgery.