Police arrested a man Wednesday who is suspected of brandishing a handgun during a confrontation with young Somalis inside a McDonald’s in Eden Prairie.
The 55-year-old man from Eden Prairie was jailed on suspicion of second-degree assault, a felony, in connection with the encounter Monday night at the fast-food restaurant on Prairie Center Drive in the heart of the suburb’s sprawling retail district.
A police statement said the case will be referred to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office for a charging decision. The Star Tribune generally does not identify suspects before they are charged.
A Somali teenager told the Star Tribune that she confronted a white man over what she took as an ethnic slight and that he responded by waving a handgun at her and other young people before leaving.
Jihan Abdullahi, 17, said she and a friend both tried in vain to pay for an order with a retail app on their smartphone as the man stood behind them.
“As [we] are walking away, the man says under his breath, ‘You were paying with EBT; that’s why it didn’t work,’ ” Abdullahi said.
EBT refers to government-funded food assistance.
Abdullahi said she responded, “ ‘Just because I’m black you think my friends and I live under EBT?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ ”
A 45-second video that has been viewed on Twitter more than 1.7 million times starts at some point after several young people got into a confrontation with the man. The video shows a teenage boy and the man pushing each other before the man stumbled backward and out the door.
At that point, the teenagers quickly backed away, and several people shouted that the man was holding a gun. A gun cannot be seen in the video. A police report said the man allegedly pulled the firearm from his waistband.
Police have yet to say whether the man had a state-issued permit allowing him to carry a firearm in public.
“Over the course of the investigation, several witnesses have been interviewed and video recordings of the incident have been reviewed,” the police statement said. “Cooperation from McDonald’s and many tips from the public have also assisted the Eden Prairie Police Department with this case.”