He waved a gun in McDonald's; probation, fines and jail time
Lloyd Johnson seemed genuinely apologetic after listening to victim impact statements from two of the young women he pulled a gun on at an Eden Prairie McDonald’s last fall.
Friday morning, Hennepin County District Court Judge Philip Carruthers stressed that Johnson’s actions were dangerous before he sentenced him to the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines recommendation of a stay of imposition for three years. If Johnson successfully completes all the conditions imposed by the judge, the felony charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Among those conditions are that he began serving 45 days in the Hennepin County workhouse Friday afternoon. He must also do 24 days of community service in his new home in Washington State or come back and serve those days in the workhouse. He must pay a $500 fine and he must get rid of all of his guns. Finally, he must undergo a cognitive skills assessment and a mental health evaluation and follow any treatment plans that result.
In March, the 55-year-old Johnson pleaded guilty to the count of threats of violence in the Nov. 19 incident. He admitted that he was standing behind two young women in line and told them to hurry up and suggested that they were probably using an EBT card, used to transfer federal government benefits to stores.
The women responded verbally and one went to get friends in the dining area. When they returned, Johnson pulled out his semi-automatic handgun.
Friday, Hennepin County Attorney’s Office advocate Hodan Abdi read the impact statement of the two women. The first one, identified as JA, who was HA at the time, said she wanted to make sure an incident like that never happened again.
“As a 17-year-old, my concerns should be school or getting the latest electronics, instead of almost losing my life at McDonald’s while getting food” she wrote in her statement. “I felt I was treated less than a human being because of the color of my skin and my hijab.”
The second victim, AM, also called Johnson’s actions “blatant racism.” She added that no teenager, hanging out in a fast food restaurant would expect to have a gun pulled on them.
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Scott Haldeman urged Judge Carruthers to sentence Johnson to 90 days in the workhouse because his actions caused a great risk to the community.
“I think Mr. Johnson made a terrible mistake,” Haldeman said. “It was not because he was hungry and frustrated but because he had a gun. A gun gives you the courage to do and say thing that you wouldn’t normally. The surveillance video showed he escalated the situation and had his hand on his gun the whole time. His distorted thinking made him feel he could pull out a gun.”
Johnson, his voice cracking, said what he did was not based on racism.
“I am just so sorry for putting these young people through this,” he told the court. “I was hungry, impatient and I acted out wrongly. I am so sorry…after hearing the impact statements, I can imagine the nightmares.”