DETROIT (AP) — A judge Tuesday ordered a Detroit gas station worker to stand trial on involuntary manslaughter charges. His decision to lock the door and then taunt an angry customer helped Fatal shot at an bystander.
Al-Hassan Aiyash “continued to pour gasoline on the fire,” said Judge Kenneth King, who found enough evidence to bring the case to trial.
Aiyash, 22, was working behind safety glass at 3am on May 6 when a customer’s failed attempt to make a $3.80 electronic purchase turned violent.
Video shows Samuel McCray repeatedly cursing and insisting he would leave the gas station with the items. Three more people entered before Aiyash pushed a button to lock the door and keep the four inside.
The scene was volatile. Video shows McCray throwing a drink at the security glass and demanding the door be opened. Two men who were subsequently shot testified that McCray threatened to shoot everyone.
“None of this would have happened if it weren’t for the fact that he locked the door,” the judge said of Aiyash’s behavior.
Aiyash finally unlocked the door just seconds before a third man, Greg Kelly, was shot dead. Two others were injured.
David Langston, with his left arm in a sling, testified that he and Kelly just went to buy cigarettes after a night of partying.
“‘Hey man, we had nothing to do with this. Don’t shoot us,” Langston recalled as he told McCray. “I played dead to make him stop shooting.”
Anthony Bowden said he went to the gas station to get cash from an ATM. Because of his gunshot wounds, he entered the courtroom with a cane.
“I watched it build to an eight before the shooting started,” Bowden replied, when asked to rate the conflict on a scale of 10.
Defense attorney Ben Gonek admitted that locking the door and trapping clients was “despicable” for Aiyash. But he blamed a heated exchange between McCray and Kelly for the fatal shooting.
“There was no evidence that Mr Aiyash knew Mr McCray had a gun,” Gonek said.
McCray is also charged with murder and attempted murder.