TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The co-owner of Franklin Manor, a popular restaurant-bar in downtown Tampa, has stepped down effective immediately after receiving backlash from a comment he posted on Instagram about protesters in Tampa.

The post by Lanfranco Pescante said, “just shoot them all.” It was apparently in reference to those protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, which happened a little more than a week ago.

Pescante sent the following statement to 8 On Your Side after inquiring about the post:

“I sincerely apologize for my comments earlier this week. This is an emotional and heated time in our country and, as someone that has tried to bring people together as a career, the last thing I wish to do is to create more divisiveness. With that said there is no excuse for my actions. Effective immediately, I will step down from my role with Nocturnal Hospitality and I will step away from all venues that I am associated with.”

Nocturnal Hospitality operates Franklin Manor as well as other restaurants in Tampa including Osteria Bar + Kitchen and Mole Y Abuela.

Franklin Manor is described as a social drinkery and nightclub. It is co-owned by David Anderson. WFLA’s attempts to reach him Tuesday have been unsuccessful.

Outrage over Pescante’s post has filled social media pages. Some agreed with him while others denounced the dangerous language.

“The thing about online is people show you exactly what they’re thinking,” said Christian, a Tampa resident.

He did not want to give his last name.

“It’s kind of sad that people in that tax bracket aren’t as educated as they should be on current events. And I feel like it’s very opinionated and it’s very disgusting to say something like that, especially to make a joke of it,” Christian said.