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Employee Shot at Chipotle Restaurant

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On Friday, April 5, 2024, an argument over guacamole portions at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in Southfield, Michigan, escalated into a violent encounter, ending with a 21-year-old employee shot in the knee.

The disagreement began around 7 p.m. at the Chipotle outlet on Evergreen Road, near Civic Center Drive, during peak dining hours.

The conflict started when a customer, later identified as 32-year-old Aaron Michael Brown of Detroit, Michigan, expressed dissatisfaction with the amount of guacamole served with his order. Witnesses report that the female employee involved retreated to the back of the restaurant for a while. During her absence, another customer noticed Brown serving himself. “When another staff member came back, a confrontation started, followed by a gunshot, which caused us to run,” one witness explained.

Southfield Police Chief Alvin Barren provided more context, explaining, “A female Chipotle employee who was serving Mr. Brown gave him what he believed was too small a portion of guacamole, which angered Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown called the female employee a derogatory term — the ‘B’ word — which understandably upset her. Other Chipotle employees then escorted the female cashier away from the area to prevent further conflict.”

According to Barren, when the coworkers took the woman to the kitchen, leaving the front counter unattended, Brown decided to serve himself. “The 21-year-old victim walked from the kitchen area and saw Mr. Brown serving himself. The victim knocked the guacamole out of Mr. Brown’s hand. Mr. Brown immediately grabbed the victim by the neck, slammed him into a refrigerator, and a fight started. Mr. Brown pulled out a 9mm handgun, which was hidden on his right hip, and fired one round, striking the victim in his right knee,” explained Barren.

An anonymous witness shared, “I was just enjoying my meal when I heard voices getting louder. Suddenly, there was a loud bang, and everyone started to panic and run. It’s hard to believe that a dispute over guacamole could lead to such violence.” Another witness who recorded the event on video said Brown seemed strangely calm after the shooting, calmly getting into his car and driving away.

The Southfield Police Department responded quickly, providing first aid to the injured employee and ensuring he was transported to the hospital. His condition is reported as stable with expectations for a full recovery.

Brown was arrested near Arbor Lofts on Civic Center, with the police recovering the gun used in the incident. Facing charges of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, discharging a firearm within a building causing injury, and two counts related to the illegal possession of a firearm during a felony, Brown’s arrest has sparked a broader conversation about concealed carry permits and public safety.

Leilah Kakaire, a local resident, expressed her shock, stating, “I adore guacamole myself, but the idea of resorting to shooting over it is unfathomable.” Chipotle issued a statement focusing on the well-being of its staff and customers, declaring, “Our thoughts and prayers are with our team member who was injured in this senseless act of violence. We are cooperating fully with the authorities in their investigation and are hopeful for a swift and just resolution to this matter.”

Brown’s legal proceedings are ongoing, with his arraignment conducted by Magistrate Melissa King at the 46th District Court. He faces serious felony charges, including up to 10 years in prison plus two additional years for the firearm charge if convicted. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for April 17 before 46th District Court Judge Sheila Johnson. No attorney was listed for Brown.

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