The owner of a family fun center in Valdosta, Ga. has been charged with two misdemeanors after authorities said he pointed a gun at a Black customer and her 13-year-old son.
Roy Taylor, who owns the “Jungle Jym’s” amusement center, is charged with one count of pointing a pistol at another and one count of misdemeanor reckless conduct, local station WABL reported. Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress said Taylor, 85, turned himself into authorities on Wednesday.
“We reviewed this case to include witness statements from the incident and the business security videos, we also discussed this case with prosecutors and a judge,” Childress said. “… Based on that review, the magistrate judge determined there was probable cause” to charge Taylor for the offenses.
The incident unfolded on the afternoon of March 17, when police were dispatched to the center, which features arcade games, a playground and putt-putt golf. When authorities arrived, they interviewed a witness who said Taylor pointed a gun at a customer and her son after the two got into a verbal dispute.
Taylor is arguing self-defense. In a now-deleted post, a man identified as Taylor’s son accused the woman of cursing at his father. He claimed the woman’s “huge teen son” started mouthing off and “tried to lunge at Roy aggressively.”
“There is a counter-argument that the reason he pulled the gun out was because of what he thought was self-defense,” Childress said. ” …The problem is that we don’t agree that when he pulled that gun out that it was warranted at that time for him to pull out the firearm.”
Several posts regarding the incident started surfacing on social media, prompting local citizens to contact the police department and ensure the Chief was privvy to the matter, WABL reported. A number of comments under one Facebook post suggest Taylor has a history of antagonistic behavior toward Blacks and other people of color.
“This guy is racist as sh*t,” wrote Desirae Gabriel, who is white. “We went there one time while we lived in Valdosta. It was just my family and two other families in the facility, one family was white and one Black … This man came around to us and the other white family and gave us all kinds of free tokens, made racists comments about the Black family to my husband and myself and deliberately didn’t go give that family any tokens.”
“We left and never returned,” she added.
Like Gabriel, a man named Steve Hall vowed to never set foot in the establishment again after hosting his child’s birthday party at the center two years ago. Another user claimed he and his sister were also threatened by Taylor with his gun.
Taylor has since been released from the Lowndes County Jail.