MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A man faces felony charges of making terroristic threats after investigators say he pulled a gun on a group of teenagers at a Twin Cities McDonald’s restaurant.
The incident was caught on camera showing the man pointing a gun at a group of Somali teens. They reported the incident after it happened at an Eden Prairie McDonald’s on Nov. 19.
On Monday, prosecutors charged 55-year-old Lloyd Johnson. He is also charged with carrying a gun without a permit.
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says the teens were racially and religiously profiled by both the gunman and the McDonalds management on duty.
The teens who survived this ordeal say it all started after a failed attempt to pay for food.
“My friend and I were trying to pay for our food at McDonald’s and we were having trouble with our Apple pay,” Jihan Abdullahi said.
Abdullahi says the man standing behind her and her friend in line told them to hurry up.
“He said under his breath, ‘You are probably trying to pay with EBT,’ and I said to him just because we are a group of black kids you think we are trying to pay with EBT,” Adbullahi said.
That’s when, according to the criminal complaint, Johnson allegedly jumped in her friend’s face and balled up his fist as if he was going to hit her.
“I got in between them and that’s when the rest of the boys came — my friends came — and that’s when he pulled out the gun,” Suhayb Hassan said.
The video shows the chaos that came after.
“All of us scattered so we wouldn’t get shot because we were fearing for our lives,” Billal Abdi said.
“The McDonald’s manager, she started screaming profanities and told us to get out in the direction that the gunman left,” Hassan added.
“We want to thank the bystander who can clearly be seen on the video coming to the aid and defense of these teens demanding management to call police in order to keep all the customers safe,” said Jaylani Hussein, CAIR-MN Executive Director.
Hussein believes the McDonald’s manager failed to de-escalate the situation.
In a statement, the store owner said. “This incident is not a reflection of the values that we instill in our employees. I can confirm that this individual is no longer employed by our organization.”
Not all of the teens involved came forward Monday. They were afraid to show their faces, concerned about retaliation for speaking up.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman says not all have been interviewed and there could be additional charges against Johnson.
Police say they did recover his gun, which was loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition.
The incident was captured on video and posted to Twitter, showing the man push a teen and back out of the restaurant, facing the group. The video was quickly viewed more than 1 million times.
“Mr. Johnson did everything he could to provoke this incident, by insulting the young lady in front of him, to confronting a second person and finally pulling a gun after he already had moved away from the confrontation,” Freeman said. “While he is innocent until proven guilty, this is outrageous behavior and it is only through sheer luck that no one was injured by his actions.”
Johnson told police he did make the insult about EBT, Freeman’s office said. He also admitted he did not have a permit to carry a firearm.