School shootings dominate the news but a gas station is likely the most dangerous place you will go today
Next time you pull into a gas station to fill up your tank, you might want to watch for flying bullets and be prepared to duck and cover.
A flurry of gas-station shootings and beatings just in the last week in Atlanta and Detroit prompted LeoHohmann.com to investigate further: The findings were astounding. Americans are being attacked with regularity at gas stations all over the country.
While much media attention is given, and rightly so, to school shootings, it appears one of the most dangerous things any American can do is pump gas at a filling station.
A simple Internet search will turn up dozens of recent attacks. The victims include old men, young men, children and even pregnant women.
Some of the cases appear to be racially motivated, and one of the most disturbing such attacks took place June 12 at a Shell station in the Brookhaven area of Atlanta, where a white woman was brutally beaten by a heavy-set African migrant. The migrant tackled Julia Poindexter from behind as she exited the store, punched her repeatedly and tried to set her face on fire with his lighter. Police described the attack as “totally random.” The entire attack was captured on video and Poindexter’s husband tracked down his wife’s assailant after watching it on camera. He found the thug just hours later at a nearby Family Dollar, wearing the same torn-up blue shirt as when he attacked his wife, then called police, who arrived within minutes to make the arrest. Idrissa Mansaray, a 36-year-old African migrant [his name is a common one in Sierra Leon but authorities have not released his immigration status] was charged with assault and battery.
In another case on May 20 in Detroit, a 26-year-old Arab man, Rami Ali Jaber, who was working as a clerk at a Citgo gas station, got into a verbal altercation with a black male customer. Jaber came from behind the bullet-proof glass and fatally shot the customer in cold blood. Black Americans have a long history of being preyed upon by Arab-immigrant business owners in Detroit, according to a report by George Hunter in the Detroit News:
There has long been tension between Detroit’s black community and the owners and employees of gas stations and other city businesses.
In 2001, the Detroit civil rights activist the Rev. Horace Sheffield organized a 30-day boycott of Arab-owned gas stations following a string of incidents including the 1999 beating death of Kalvin Porter, a 34-year-old black electrician, by two Yemini immigrants who were acquitted of murder charges.
But the majority of attacks in other cities appear unrelated to race.
Law enforcement experts attribute the growing violence at gas stations to a combination of factors, including rising gang violence, mounting cases of road rage that spill over into gas stations, and a general, growing malevolence in today’s amoral society.
A gas station would not seem to be an ideal place to assault someone since these establishments are well-equipped with video surveillance cameras. But the fact that these attacks are growing leads many to believe they are not planned but spontaneous in nature.
On Thursday, June 14, a 19-year-old man was charged with involuntary manslaughter related to a deadly double shooting outside a DeKalb County gas station in Atlanta. De’Arius Woods, 19, remained in the DeKalb County jail without bond after the Wednesday afternoon shooting that killed 42-year-old Anthony Cooley. Woods was reportedly fired upon by Cooley, then fired back from another gas station located across the road, killing Cooley in the shootout. A second man was also injured in the shootout.
Just a couple of days earlier in the same general area of Atlanta, two black males pulled up to a Texaco station on MLK Jr. Drive and opened fire, killing a 19-year-old man and injuring his pregnant 19-year-old companion and her 2-year-old daughter. Witnesses called it an unprovoked attack.
Some of the rash of shootings involve seemingly random sniper fire where a person is targeted while pumping gas or sitting behind the wheel. Others involve actual shootouts between two armed opponents, which bear the hallmarks of gang warfare.
In a case that occurred June 12 in Stone Mountain, Ga., police said an “innocent bystander” was caught in the crossfire of a shootout in which bullets were flying across the busy Central Drive, striking the man at the Food Mart gas station. Police have both shooters in custody but as of Friday still had not released their names. It was the second shooting just this week at a cluster of gas stations in this part of DeKalb County.
Below is just a small sampling of gas station shootings within the last six months, with links to the local news reports for more details [note that none of these shootings include traditional armed robberies inside of the gas stations — all occurred outside while pumping gas or behind the wheel of a car]:
- On June 20, a man was gunned down at a gas station on Detroit’s west side while he was inside charging his cellphone. The unidentified man, in his 20s, was killed about 10:40 p.m. at a gas station on the 12000 block of West Chicago, just east of Meyers. Police say two armed men entered the station and started shooting. The victim was shot in his head. Then the two men fled on foot.Medics arrived, but the victim was dead at the scene, the Detroit News reports.
- On June 14, just before midnight, a 27-year-old black man was killed after being shot multiple times at a Valero gas station on Detroit’s east side, just off of I-75. The shooter, who remains at large, was described as a black male wearing a orange and blue baseball cap and white t-shirt with keys around his neck. He escaped in a gray Dodge Charger.
After a man was shot at the Obama gas station in Columbia, S.C., on June 9, police arrested the store’s Muslim clerk. According to a Columbia police statement, Antar Daralhaj, 20, was arguing with a customer Saturday afternoon about overcharging for gas. The customer allegedly moved behind the counter during the altercation, cursing and shouting at Daralhaj about returning money. When the customer left the store, Daralhaj shot him in the lower body. The man is expected to survive.
- On May 26 in Gastonia, N.C., police say the same man gunned down two gas station clerks at separate stations within 90 minutes of each other. One clerk died, the other was left in critical condition.
- On April 23, just before 9 p.m. a gunfight lit up the sky at a gas station in the small-town of Jasper, Alabama. Surveillance video shows a verbal altercation between two men escalated into a “wild gun-fight” outside in which one was wounded. One shooter aimed toward gas pumps, the other at propane tanks.”[Gunfire] was coming from both directions, so you’ve got apartments, there was kids with their hover-boards, they didn’t care,” said witness Jada Borden.
- On May 8, a man was shot and killed at a gas station in the 7000 block of Covington Highway near Phillips Road in the Atlanta suburb of Lithonia around 10:44 a.m. The victim was originally rushed from the scene in critical condition, according to DeKalb Police Department Spokesperson Lonzy Robertson. However, he confirmed the death around 5 p.m. The shooting followed an argument between the shooter, who has not been found, and his victim, very likely a case of road rage.
- On March 27, a gunfight resulted in a triple shooting in the middle of the afternoon in Maitland, Orange County, Florida. One of the bullets landed in neighbor’s living room. One neighbor said the drugs and prostitution have gotten worse over the years in this area.
- On March 17, a 50-year-old Tennessee man was shot and killed at a southwest Atlanta gas station. When officers arrived they found a deceased man in the driver’s seat of a black sedan parked in the parking lot. The victim, later identified as car thief William Blackwell, was shot five times by the car owner, 25-year-old Raheem Scott, who saw the man get in the car with a woman and shot him repeatedly, then walked into the gas station and called 9-1-1 to report the killing.
- On Feb. 26 on Detroit’s west side four people were killed, including a family of African-Americans, and a church deacon who was pumping gas.
- On Feb. 28, just after 1 a.m. in Allentown, Pa., two people died in a shootout at an Airport Road gas station.
- On March 30, One person died and two were critically injured when a gas station clerk, Rafael Valdez, went on a shooting rampage against customers in the Las Vegas suburb.
- In early January, another shooting at a Las Vegas-area gas station owned by the same chain left one employee dead after an apparent botched murder-suicide [which may have been an honor killing].