Milwaukee Burger King robbery that left 16-year-old girl dead was staged, prosecutors say

NOW: Milwaukee Burger King robbery that left 16-year-old girl dead was staged, prosecutors say

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A 41-year-old man has been charged in connection to an armed robbery at a Milwaukee Burger King that left a 16-year-old employee, Niesha Harris-Brazell, dead. New court documents released Friday, Jan. 14, show the robbery was staged.

Prosecutors said 41-year-old Antoine Edwards attempted to rob the Burger King near 51st and Capitol on Sunday, Jan. 2, around closing time. A police investigation revealed Edwards' 16-year-old daughter worked at the fast food restaurant, along with Harris-Brazell, her best friend.

Court documents show Edwards and his daughter admitted to police the robbery was staged and both were arrested. They told authorities they were in on the robbery plot together, along with Harris-Brazell. But Harris-Brazell's family told CBS 58 that doesn't add up.

"Whatever Niesha wanted, Niesha had it. So for them to say she's in on it for a couple hundred dollars, she got an aunty that can drop that and then some," said Harris-Brazell's aunt, Tashe Lane.

"Make it make sense for me," said her mom, Liceal Brazell. "'Cause at the end of the day, I lost a child. I lost part of me."

Edwards is charged with three felony charges: felony murder; intentionally contributing to the delinquency of a child and death is a consequence; and possession of a firearm by a felon.

According to the criminal complaint, surveillance video shows a Chevy Impala pull up to the drive-thru window of the Burger King. The driver, identified as Edwards, knocked on the window, a male employee opened the window and the employee briefly said something to the driver. The driver is seen pulling away but returns a few minutes later. This time, Harris-Brazell opens the window, backs away and removes the cash drawer.

Prosecutors said at that point, Edwards pushes him upper body through the window, while holding a semiautomatic pistol. Officials said he is seen waiving the gun and pointing it at Harris-Brazell. Court documents show another Burger King employee -- Derrick Ellis -- shot at Edwards but hit Harris-Brazell instead, killing her. Officials said it does not appear that Edwards' gun was ever discharged.

Court documents show the plan was for Edwards to come to the drive-thru window and stage a robbery at closing time when the cash register was likely to be full. 

Police are still looking for Ellis, the suspected shooter, who they said was not in on the robbery plan. 

Edwards' daughter told authorities she saw him pull up to the window the first time and pull away. She called him to make sure it was him who had been at the window and he said he would pull back around. She told investigators Harris-Brazell was with her during the call and she believed the reason Harris-Brazell didn't turn over the money was because she "must have panicked." Harris-Brazell was seen yelling, "he's got a gun! he's got a gun!"

Edwards and his daughter both told police the same stories, except that he tried to protect her and claimed he was only in on the plot with Harris-Brazell and not his daughter.

Harris-Brazell's mom and aunts dispute the suspects' story. They said the teen wasn't even planning on being at Burger King that day. She didn't have a ride to work, so she called in, but her mom convinced her to go.

"I'm just trying to make her responsible. Like, if you're going to commit to this job, then do the job. Where there's a will there's a way. Now you want to put dirt on her name? It's not happening," Brazell said.

A GoFundMe page for Harris-Brazell raised more than $40,000. That's in part thanks to business owner Omar Shaikh, who stepped in and asked his friends to help. Donations poured in, including from Brewers MVP Christian Yelich and Packers great Donald Driver.

CBS 58 spoke with Shaikh Friday, and he said he doesn't regret raising the money, no matter what the circumstances were.

"I just think of the family. I have a 16 year old daughter -- she's turning 16 next month -- and they still lost a 16-year-old girl. It's tragic for the family," said Shaikh, who owns Carnevor and 3rd St. Market Hall.

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