White man with gun threatens black students entering college housing complex
A group of Florida A&M University students visiting a friend at a student housing complex in Tallahassee, Florida, was prevented from entering the building by an armed white man.
Isaiah Butterfield, a junior student at the historically black university, told NBC News that he and his friends were waiting for another friend who lives in the building to let them in early on Saturday morning when they were approached by a man later identified as Don Crandall.
"He walked past us and opened the door and he told us we weren’t getting into the building unless we had a key," Butterfield said. "We were thinking, 'Why would he even say anything to us?' We were confused."
After an unnamed white student intervenes, Crandall eventually enters the building, followed by Butterfield and his friends. When Crandall notices the group followed him in, he becomes more agitated.
"Let me be clear, you ain't getting in this elevator," he warns them, shortly before brandishing his weapon. When the students asked Crandall why he brought out his gun, the man looks down as if it was a mistake, apologizes, and places the weapon in his back pocket.
Butterfield told NBC News he is confident the action was not made in error.
"He made sure that we saw the gun," said the student. "He was holding his arm in a way to emphasize."
In an interview with ABC News, Butterfield offered the chilling motive he believes may have prompted the altercation.
"We really think he was trying to provoke us to the point where it got violent so he could retaliate with the gun," the student said. "I knew that if this dude even feels threatened, he's going to find any excuse to pull the trigger."
After Crandall was identified by social media users as the general manager of Baymont Inn & Suites Tallahassee Central, a petition to have him fired started gaining momentum online.
The Tallahassee Police Department is currently investigating the incident under Florida's statute of aggravated assault with deadly weapon without intent to kill.