Man warned he would shoot every customer in Detroit gas station before killing 1, injuring 2, victim says

DETROIT − A victim in a Saturday shooting that killed one and wounded two others at a Detroit gas station says the gunman warned a clerk during a dispute that he would shoot every customer in the store before opening fire.

David Langston says he pleaded “don’t shoot” to the gunman, who, according to police, was angered in a dispute with the clerk over $3. He said his best friend, Gregory Karlos Samuel Fortner-Kelly, also begged the gas station’s clerk to open the locked doors of the business and let them out before being shot. The doors remained locked and the gunman shot the customers inside, Langston told USA TODAY Network's Detroit Free Press reporter Jasmin Barmore, who is a friend of the victims.

Langston, Fortner-Kelly and another patron were shot. Fortner-Kelly, 37, was killed.

Gregory Karlos Samuel Fortner-Kelly, 37, of Detroit, was killed in a triple shooting at the Mobil gas station on West McNichols Road, near the Lodge Freeway in Detroit, on Saturday, May 6, 2023.

Patrons were locked inside gas station after dispute over declined card, prosecutor says

Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney Kym Worthy confirmed late Tuesday evening that the clerk locked the gas station with the patrons and shooter inside.

Samuel Anthony McCray, 27, of Detroit is charged in the triple-shooting with first-degree murder, two counts of assault with intent to murder, three counts of felony firearm, and another count of possessing a firearm as a felon.

Worthy said McCray allegedly attempted to make a purchase inside the gas station, and when his card was declined, he attempted to leave with unpurchased items. The clerk then locked the doors, Worthy said in a news release.

McCray allegedly began arguing with the clerk before he opened fire inside the locked gas station, Worthy said. After three people had been shot, the clerk unlocked the door and McCray fled, Worthy said.

McCray was apprehended by police Sunday.

“I want to be very clear,” Worthy said. “The investigation in this case is not finished, it is on going.”

Gas station shut down

Efforts to reach owners of the Mobil gas station on West McNichols Road near the Lodge Freeway were unsuccessful.

Police on Monday said the gas station was unlicensed and was shut down by the Detroit Buildings, Safety Engineering, and Environmental Department amid the shooting investigation.

Victim was father of three

Fortner-Kelly's loved ones are distraught and angry over death. He was a father of three. His oldest daughter, 14, is about to graduate middle school.

Before he was killed, Langston said Fortner-Kelly tried to shield everyone from getting shot.

“That’s just what type of person he was,” said his childhood friend, Tihesha Redmond. “He’s always been a person to be there for everyone around him and take care of them and make sure they’re good.”

Fortner-Kelly was a graduate of Southfield High School and Wayne State University, both in the Detroit area. He had been a substitute teacher, according to Redmond.

He was an outgoing, funny, “comedian type of person,” Redmond said. “No matter what you’re going through, he’s going to have you laughing.”

“He was truly an earth angel,” added his mother, Marilyn Fortner.

Andrea Sahouri covers criminal justice for the Detroit Free Press. Follow her on Twitter @andreamsahouri.

Detroit Free Press reporter Jenna Prestininzi contributed to this report

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