MINNEAPOLIS — The man who pulled a gun after an encounter with teens inside an Eden Prairie McDonald's was sentenced Friday, getting 45 days in jail and three years on probation.
KARE 11's Jennifer Austin was in Hennepin County Court as Lloyd Edward Johnson learned he would be spending 45 days in the workhouse and perform 24 days worth of community service. The judge also ordered that Johnson can’t possess a firearm for the rest of his life. The sentence came after Johnson pleaded guilty to one felony count of terroristic threats.
Besides jail time and community service, Johnson was fined $3,000 but $2,500 is stayed pending the end of probation, meaning he pays $500 but the rest will be waived if he honors the terms of probation. The sentence also mandates that if Johnson completes probation with no violations his felony conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor.
The criminal complaint filed against Johnson details how Eden Prairie officers were dispatched on November 19, 2018 to the McDonalds at 598 Prairie Center Drive. Witnesses reported that a man pulled a gun on a group of teenagers but was no longer on scene.
Responding officers talked to a 17-year-old girl who said she was trying to pay for her food with Apple Pay but that the system wasn't working. She said a man in back of her started complaining that she and a friend were taking too long, and told them to hurry up. The man allegedly said, "You were probably trying to pay with EBT," insinuating that the teens were on welfare.
At that point, the teen said she turned around to confront the man, later identified as Johnson, over his statement. She said he stepped up, got into her face and balled up his fist as if he would strike her, so the teen ran to another part of the restaurant and got friends to back her up.
The teen says Johnson left the area after another verbal confrontation with the group, but returned with his cell phone and began recording them. She told police that be began yelling for everyone to back up before pulling a handgun from his waistband and leaving the store.
The girl said Johnson did not specifically point the weapon at anyone in the group.
"That night I was hungry, I was coming home from work, I was impatient and I just acted out," Johnson said in court Friday, reflecting on that fateful night. "I never meant to hurt anybody. I apologize just heartfelt, profusely for that."
A victims advocate spoke for the teens targeted by Johnson, describing the incident as a life-changing event. "I'm not unfamiliar with the discrimination that comes with being a black, Muslim woman," read the statement by the then-17-year-old girl who got in the initial altercation with the defendant. "Never would I have though that my friends and I would get a gun pulled out on us on a regular Monday night at a McDonald's. I felt I was treated less of a human being due to the color of my skin and the hijab on my head.'
While reading the sentence, Judge Philip Carruthers emphasized the seriousness of what Johnson did that night. "You scared people, you endangered people that's very, very serious conduct," Carruthers scolded. "You really pierced their comfort, you pierced their security."