DETROIT (WWJ) - A man was shot and killed Friday night after an apparent dispute over the price of condoms at a Detroit gas station.
WWJ’s Beth Fisher spoke to an employee at the BP gas station on Fenkell and Meyers, where the shooting took place on the city’s westside overnight. The employee said the argument was apparently over the price of a box of condoms.
He said the customer bought a box of condoms, but made a comment that he was overcharged and could have bought them somewhere else for a cheaper price. After being told he couldn’t get a refund, the customer allegedly began tossing items off the shelves. That’s when, according to the employee, the overnight clerk came out with a gun and fired a warning shot, which struck the customer in the shoulder.
Police say the customer was taken to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries.
Ron Scott, with the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, said they are working on conflict resolution between gas station owners and Detroiters, something they will be discussing at a meeting on Sunday.
“We can’t have this kind of attitude and this kind of disrespect for life. Whether it happens to people who work in the gas station or definitely if it happens to people in the community. From what I’m understanding, the price of a condom should not be somebody’s life,” said Scott.
Police say the store clerk, whose name has not been released, is in custody. An investigation is ongoing.
The shooting comes during an increase of violent crime in Detroit.
In another recent incident at a gas station, an 86-year-old World War II veteran was assaulted and his car was stolen in broad daylight. After several people passed by him as he crawled, unable to walk because his leg was broken in the attack, the man tried to pay a stranger to drive him home. The good Samaritan man drove him for free, and called an ambulance. Days later, a 21-year-old suspect was arrested. Charges are pending.
Detroit Councilman Kwame Kenyatta is drafting an ordinance that would require gas station owners to hire security guards to protect the public.
“And as we watch this man was beaten on camera and crawled into the station, never once did I see the proprietor, as well as the people who were going to that gas station, help that individual. We are saying secure your facility, safeguard us as a community,” said Kenyatta.
Scott said part of the problem is the general relationship between customers in the communities and gas station owners and employees.
“The problem basically is that you have people who work in the stations who do not have a reasonable relationship with the community, where the respect for the dollars that they spend is accorded to them in the terms of human respect. On the other hand, you do have people in the neighborhood who come in, or people who might engage in negative activity, where the lives of the owners are threatened,” said Scott.
What it comes down to, said Scott, is respect.
“I’ve been in similar situations in some of these stores where I’ve been disrespected. And now we’re talking about young, specifically African-American men. One of the major things in the community that you want is respect… and I think people here don’t have skills in terms of de-escalation of violence,” said Scott.