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Gas station clerk shoots through safety glass, kills man allegedly stealing from coin machine

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Posted at 6:43 PM, Oct 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-14 19:28:23-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — "I just know they killed my son and they shouldn't have," said William Lewis, Jr. about the 18-year-old gas station clerk who fatally shot his son Monday night.

It happened at the 76 gas station on Gratiot Avenue near Harper on Detroit's east side.

Detroit police said when the clerk saw Joshua Lewis, 30, allegedly stealing from a coin machine, he picked up an AK-47 and fired a single shot through the safety glass.

Lewis was killed by the round that pierced through the safety glass.

"A quarter machine. My son got killed over a quarter machine," Lewis said.

The gas station clerk, who is the owner's brother, was arrested. Prosecutors are reviewing a warrant request in the case.

Family members and others dispute the allegation that Joshua was stealing from the machine. They said he was playing a video game that malfunctioned and he was shaking the machine in an attempt to get his money back.

"Whatever he did, he didn't deserve to die," said Emily Rippy, Joshua's mother. "Now I don't have my son."

Community activists from several organizations held a press conference at the gas station Wednesday to make it known that they don't ever want to see the gas station open as long as it's in the hands of its current owner or his relatives.

A spokesperson for the City of Detroit's Buildings, Safety Engineering, and Environmental Department (BSEED) said the gas station does not have a license to operate or a certificate of compliance.

City officials said they are working with the police department and the law department to formally close down the business.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the Lewis family with funeral costs.