gavel and handcuffs

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Dozens Gather To Protest Shooting Of Customer At Coney Island

The restaurant has been shut down

May 22, 2018 - 4:58 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) - A Macomb Township man is facing multiple charges in the shooting of a customer at a Detroit Coney Island over the weekend.

Engjull Thaql, 45, was working at the restaurant along East McNichols Sunday afternoon when he got into an argument with 23-year-old Eugene Lorenzo Lyons of Detroit. 

Thaql asked Lyons to leave, according investigators, and Lyons complied -- but then returned to the parking lot behind the restaurant. That's when police allege that Thaql pulled a handgun and fired several shots at Lyons -- striking him once in the leg. Thaql was arrested at the scene.

The restaurant was shut down by the City of Detroit after officials found that it had been operating without a valid business license since 2014.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged him with one count each of Assault with Intent to Do Great Bodily Harm, Felonious Assault, Carrying a Dangerous Weapon with Unlawful Intent, and Felon in Possession of a Firerm, as well as four counts of Felony Firearm.

Thaql was arraigned in 36th District Court Tuesday afternoon. A probable cause conference in the case was scheduled for May 29, and a preliminary exam for June 4.

In the aftermath of the shooting, dozens of locals gathered in the restaurant's parking lot to protest the way local business owners and employees treat customers. Sunday's coney shooting comes just one week after a customer was shot and killed by a west-side gas station clerk after an argument broke out.

Protestors say customers are not only being disrespected, but also endangered.

"This isn't anti-anybody, it's just pro-us," Detroit pastor and activist David Bullock told WWJ Newsradio 950's Jon Hewett at the protest. "We don't want to get shot in businesses in our communities. We don't want to die buying gas in our community. And the best way for us to not get shot or not get murdered is to own the businesses in our communities."

Rev. W.J. Rideout called on business owners to stray away from the same violence they see from police officers.

"It's time that we let these business owners know that you cannot do like you saw police officers do to unarmed black men and unarmed black women," Rideout said. "It's time that we have our own black barber shops again, black restaurants, black pool halls, so that this kind of stuff doesn't happen."

That economic sentiment was echoed by 3rd District Detroit City Councilman Scott Benson.

"Don't worry about shutting somebody down, worry about propping somebody up," Benson said. "Black empowerment is huge."