An Eden Prairie man was charged with felony terroristic threats in connection with pulling a gun on a group of teenagers at a McDonald’s, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday.
Lloyd Edward Johnson, 55, also was charged with carrying a pistol without a permit, a gross misdemeanor. Johnson was charged by summons and a first appearance has not yet been set.
“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,” said Freeman. “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.”
According to the criminal complaint, police spoke to two Somali-American young women on Nov. 19, who said they were attempting to pay for their food with a digital app, but it was not working. Johnson was behind them and he told them to hurry up and then said, “You were probably trying to pay with EBT,” the Electronic Benefit Transfer card used to transfer federal government benefits to stores that accept the benefits.
One of the women turned and answered him back. Johnson then approached the other woman, said some things to her and balled his hand into a fist, making her fear he was going to hit her. The first woman then went into the dining area to get some of their friends. The friends began to say things to Johnson, the complaint states.
One of the women said Johnson broke away from the group but returned seconds later with his cell phone, appearing to record the argument. He then told everyone to back up and pulled his handgun from his waistband before walking out the door, according to the complaint.
Investigators obtained short clips of the incident from cell phones. However, it took a week to obtain the store video. The video shows Johnson saying something to the two women, and then coming close to the face of one of them. It also shows another man, who was at the counter, approach Johnson, who slaps away the man’s hand and take an aggressive posture. It then shows Johnson backing away, then taking out his cell phone and re-engaging the group. When more youth come from the dining area, Johnson backed away and pulled the gun from his right jacket pocket, the complaint states.
When police interviewed him, Johnson admitted he did make the comment about EBT and that was insulting. He also admitted he did not have a permit to carry a firearm, according to the complaint.
Police recovered a STYR M40 semi-automatic handgun from Johnson with a magazine loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition.
Multiple attempts have been made to find out the fate of the McDonald’s employees who were seen on video verbally attacking the Somali teens after they were victimized by Johnson, but McDonald’s has declined to respond to requests other than to say the incident is under investigation.