Attorney For Couple Involved in Armed Confrontation Outside A Lake Orion Chipotle Speaks Out

Attorney: "This really isn't an issue of racism."

WWJ News
July 03, 2020 - 4:30 pm

(WWJ) The attorney for an Independence Township woman who was caught on camera pointing a gun at a mother and her teenage daughter in an apparent racially charged exchange says there is more to the story.

The viral video shows Jillian Wuestenberg, 32, pointing a handgun while arguing with a woman in a Chipotle parking lot in Lake Orion Wednesday evening.

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The woman has been identified in media reports as Takelia Hill.

Jillian’s husband; Eric Wuestenberg, 42, was also present. The couple is facing felonious assault charges, a four-year felony.

Although it is not captured on video, prosecutors say Mr. Wuestenberg also had a gun. He lost his job following the incident.

Witnesses say a shouting match broke out after Mrs. Wuestenberg allegedly bumped into the teenager outside the restaurant at Baldwin and Brown Rd. The 15-year-old asked for an apology. You can read more about what happened and see the video here. 

“Videos do not show what is behind the camera. The videos have been edited, and the videos show a narrow field of view,” The couple’s attorney, Dean Greenblatt, told WWJ.

Greenblatt said, “a number of people were approaching (the Wuestenberg vehicle) behind the mother and daughter with the camera phone.”

“All those people, combined with the mother that threatened (the Wuestenbergs), created a sense of fear. Mrs. Wuestenberg feared for herself. She also feared for her husband.”

Mr. Wuestenberg lives with a disability, according to Greenblatt. They were parked in a handicap parking spot.

Greenblatt said the teenager blocked Mrs. Wuestenberg from entering her vehicle.

“Mrs. Wuestenberg rolled down the window, apologetic with the Mom and daughter. Nonetheless, Mom and daughter would not let them leave,” Greenblatt told WWJ’s Dan Jenkins.

He said Hill got behind the vehicle as Mr. Wuestenberg was trying to pull out, and then she started banging on the couple’s car.

“Not once, to alert someone she was back there, but repeatedly,” Greenblatt said. “There are five separate handprints on the car.”

Hill argued the couple tried to run her over. 

Greenblatt told WWJ Mrs. Wuestenberg left the vehicle to defend her husband.

“She feared for his safety. She feared her own safety, which is quite clear from the vehicle. If you watch the video, you can see Mrs. Wuestenberg is scared to death,” Greenblatt said. “After she drew her weapon, she was informing on no uncertain terms the people who had the camera phones needed to stop…But they continued to approach her, even as Mrs. Wuestenberg was backing up.”

Greenblatt said it is unclear how many people were in the group, but he estimated between 5 and 8. He would not disclose if any of them had a weapon.

Several shaken bystanders called 911 on the couple. The Wuestenbergs were arrested at the scene.

Fortunately, no shots were fired, and no one was injured.

Hill said she also feared for her life.

“So this is America,” Hill later wrote on Facebook about the incident. “I’ve never in my life had a gun pulled out on me...I’ve never felt so helpless in my life. I’m so shaken up.”

Hill is black. The Wuestenbergs are white.

However, Greenblatt said the media was too quick to paint this as a racially charged confrontation.

“This really isn’t an issue of racism,” he said. “If we’re getting to a point if someone bumps into someone else (of a different race) … they are going to be called racist, that is a pretty sad commentary on the state of affairs today.”

Oakland County Sheriff, Michael Bouchard, says it is clear both sides felt “extremely threatened.”

However, prosecutors decided to charge the Wuestenbergs with a crime following an investigation.

The only right thing would have been to walk away, Bouchard said. 

"We see situations where the tension is very quick, people are on edge, and there's a quick acceleration to anger and physical violence,” Bouchard told WWJ. “So, I guess my plea is let us all try to be that voice of calm in the storm, and remember each one of us is a human being that deserves respect."