Eatery reopens; few new leads in slaying investigation

As T.G.I. Friday’s reopened for business for the first time since their night manager was found dead in a pool of blood in the San Mateo restaurant, police say they still have no leads as to who might have slain him.

San Mateo police Lt. Mike Brunicardi said police have not arrested anyone in the case, have no suspect description and do not know if night manager Douglas Castello, found dead on the floor of the restaurant at 5:15 a.m. Monday by the day manager, fought back.

Police have maintained that the killing was motivated by robbery but have remained tight-lipped about the investigation.

Though they’ve revealed that Castello was killed by blunt trauma to the head early Monday, they have declined to say what weapon was used, whether there was evidence of a break-in, what was stolen, or where precisely he was found in the restaurant. Brunicardi said revealing such information might jeopardize the investigation.

Though police believe the incident to be robbery-related, he said they are “confident” it is not tied to a trend of robberies and have no evidence the perpetrator is linked to any previous crime.

Despite their lack of leads, officers are working tirelessly on the case.

“We’re not going to rest until there’s resolution to this,” Brunicardi said.

Meanwhile, customers trickled back into the restaurant Thursday. T.G.I. Friday’s had been closed since Monday.

A supervisor at the restaurant, when asked if all employees had returned to work Thursday and who did not want to be identified, said, “As far as I know, yes.”

Valerie Hannah, who works for T.G.I. Friday’s corporate operations department, said the decision when to reopen “had been put in the staff’s hands.”

“It’s been a really hard time, but everybody just decided that we want to move forward, so here we are today,” she said.

Customers didn’t seem to be scared off by the crime. At noon Thursday, the parking lot was mostly full. Some customers said they hadn’t even heard about the homicide, while others had followed the case closely and wanted to give the restaurant their support.

kworth@examiner.com 

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