Florida Couple Arrested After Shooting at 2 Black Men & a Kid Dropping Off U-Haul Van
A white Florida couple was arrested last week after shooting at two Black men who were dropping off a U-Haul van.
Charles McMillon Jr., his 10-year-old son and Kendrick Clemons were sitting in McMillon’s truck after dropping off a U-Haul van at the rental location in Tallahassee Thursday night when a gunshot was fired. The two looked behind them and saw an older couple approaching the truck shouting for the men to surrender, McMillon.
McMillon managed to drive off as more shots rang out.
“It was a life-threatening situation,” McMillon said. “I didn’t even know where I was going. I had my head down and I was making sure my son was covered. And I just pushed the gas to the floor. Didn’t know if I was going to hit something or not.”
The shooters were later identified as Wallace Fountain, 77, and his wife, Beverly Fountain, 72, the owners of the strip mall who had been staking the location out because, according to them, people had been stealing gas from their U-Haul fleet.
McMillon, who said his truck was parked under a street lamp, isn’t buying that characterization of events.
“They saw three Black people, unarmed, dropping off a U-Haul,” McMillon told the Tallahassee Democrat. “They got guns, they started shooting. That’s why it’s racially motivated.”
Beverly Fountain told the paper that neither she nor her husband noticed the men’s skin color and they were trying to protect their property.
The Fountains were arrested by Tallahassee police — an officer was parked in the same parking lot at the time of the incident and intervened — and charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill. The pair were found carrying several pistols and officers found a shotgun in their stakeout U-Haul.
McMillon and Clemons were not injured but have sued the Fountains and U-Haul.
“This country is seeing a wave of anti-Black vigilantism,” Charles Gee, one of their attorneys, said Tuesday. “And what we’re seeing that almost happened ... is someone taking the law into their own hands and serving as cop, judge, jury and ultimately executioner.”
“The whole country has gone to hell with all these riots,” Beverly Fountain told the Tallahassee Democrat in response to the suit and her arrest. “One incident was blown out of proportion.”
The officer who intervened after the Fountains opened fire noted in his report that he had seen McMillon and Clemons arrive and they were not acting suspiciously.
The Fountains told police they fired into the air after hearing the sounds of someone siphoning gasoline.
The arresting officer said the couple did not obey his commands at first but eventually put their guns down and laid down in the parking lot.
The Fountains were given pre-trial release without bond but ordered to surrender all their firearms until the case is resolved.
“If we’re the ones shooting at them, we would still be in jail right now, probably with no bond, probably with intent to kill,” Clemons said. “But they got to walk free.”