DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit gas station clerk may have panicked when he locked a door to stop a possible theft before a man shot three bystanders, but he didn’t commit a crime, his lawyer said Friday.
A magistrate set bond at $200,000 for Al-Hassan Aiyash, 22, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of a customer. He is accused of being grossly negligent by locking the door when a man tried to leave the gas station with items worth less than $4.
A man was killed and two more were wounded on May 6. Samuel McCray, 27, has been charged with murder and other crimes.
Aiyash’s attorney said it’s “really not fair” to set a high bond while prosecutors present an uncommon legal theory.
“He was doing his job,” Jamil Khuja told the judge. “Did he panic and act inappropriately in a way? Maybe, but that’s the best they can argue here.”
McCray tried to leave the gas station without paying for items when an electronic purchase didn’t work, according to police.
Aiyash, who was behind protective glass, remotely locked the door, keeping McCray and three bystanders inside during the dispute. He unlocked the door shortly before the shooting, but the others apparently didn’t know it, the prosecutor’s office said.
“People were begging to be let out,” Magistrate Malaika Ramsey-Heath said before setting bond.
Detroit police Chief James White said he would support a local ban on stores locking people inside.
“I see no logical reason a person needs to be locked inside for any reason without having the ability to get out,” White said.