Man pulls gun on high school students at Eden Prairie McDonalds

Isha Konety, news beat lead

On Nov. 19, a 16-year-old former Edina High School student and her friends that attend Eden Prairie High School were confronted in an Eden Prairie McDonald’s when a patron allegedly pulled his gun on the group of students. Zephyrus was able to interview her but has chosen not to identify her name.

The group of students was attempting to use Apple Pay; however, the program was not functioning, so they were told to leave the line. As the group exited the line, the man behind them—the same man that allegedly pulled out his gun—commented that the group must be using Electronic Benefits Transfer, a system that permits the transfer of Federal benefits to be used in retail. In response, one of the group members said, “just because I’m black does not mean EBT.” “[The man] was like ‘don’t lie. I know you all use EBT.’ And [my friend] said ‘no we don’t…you’re being racist right now,’” the unnamed student said.

At this point, the man neared another one of the friends and began yelling at her. In response, she told him to not come close to her and to back away. This portion of the incident was not filmed on camera because, according to the unnamed student, her phone was malfunctioning at that time. However, as she began to record, the man backed away telling the group to “not touch him” and pushed a member of the group. Then, the man pulls out his gun, waives it around, and leaves for the parking lot.

In a viral video, posted in two separate tweets and totaling in over 15 thousand likes and nine thousand retweets, the man audibly says to the students, “You better not touch me, motherf*cker.” The students moved further into the building and began yelling that the man had a gun. As a result, the store manager addressed the students, telling them to leave the store immediately while the man was still in the parking lot. In the video, the store manager says, “I don’t give a f*ck. Get out of my store now.”

Another patron began to reason with the store manager, explaining that they should not be sent out of the store while the man was still outside with a gun. The second patron recommended that the manager call the police instead.

As some of the students began to explain the situation to the manager, another employee told the group that the man must have had a reason for pulling out his gun. Ultimately, the group was kicked out of the McDonald’s. After our source left the scene, the police were called, a report was filed, and the franchise manager was fired. “He got charged with terroristic actions,” she said. Additionally, the perpetrator did not have a permit for the gun he possessed. After serving around a week in jail, the man was released.

The incident received intense backlash on both Facebook and Twitter, as the videos of the altercation were published by our source. The story has been picked up by the New York Times, Star Tribune, and Fox News. Additionally, Eden Prairie High School recently held a forum to address problems with and solutions to racism in their community. “The goal [of posting this video] was just another way to show people what goes on every day for people who are black, or female, or Muslim, or anything different than what is considered normal in our country. I just want to show that it’s real. I truly thought that it’d be a small thing. I just want to show how Muslim women, like me, get attacked daily and to be careful out here,” she said.

Some of her friends at Edina High School were shocked to hear about the incident. “I thought it was really wrong. For them to be discriminated against like that and for the manager and the employees to shove it off as if it was nothing was really disgusting. Instead of helping them, they pushed them off to the side and put the blame on them,” Junior Muna Bashir said.

Both Bashir and Junior Annika Nelson agree that discrimination against Muslims, women, and people of Somali descent is a lot closer than it may seem to us and without awareness, people will not be able to combat this stigma that these groups face.

“I hope that the man is punished and that we get stricter gun laws because this can happen anywhere and you can’t stop it,” Nelson said.