A visit to a friend’s apartment proved near-deadly for a group of Florida A&M University students after a white man drew a gun on them in an attempt to keep them out of the upscale complex.
Tallahassee police say they’re now investigating the incident, which was caught on camera.
The drama unfolded at the off-campus Stadium Centre apartments Saturday evening as the group of students arrived to meet their friend but instead encountered a man identified as Don Crandall, according to The Famuan. Crandall, who’s white, barred the young men from entering the building unless they proved they were residents with keys.
The students, all of whom are Black, explained they were there to see a friend, but that was of little consequence to Crandall, who still refused to let them in. That’s when the young men said a white resident, identified as “Chad,” intervened to help get into the building.
In an interview with Buzzfeed News, the students explained that their mutual friend, Zavian Flowers, had just moved into the building and was throwing a party.
“Chad stepped in to help us because the other white man was being racist by not letting us in,” FAMU student Isaiah Thomas told The Famuan, adding that the resident claimed them as his guests in an effort to defuse the situation.
As Crandall entered the building, another one of the students, Stephen Brooks, caught the door and followed in behind him. However, things quickly escalated between Chad, Crandall and the students as they approached the elevator.
In video from the incident, Crandall is seen blocking the young men from getting on the elevator, telling them, “You don’t belong in this building.” As the elevator doors open and the group tries piling in, Crandall refuses to back down.
“You think I’m f**ing kidding?” he says.
“You’re just not man enough to go about your day,” Chad shoots back.
The video then shows Crandall, an employee of the Baymont Inn & Suites by Wyndham Hotels, brandish a gun as the FAMU students try pushing past him to board the elevator.
“These are the kind of people burning Nike products,” Thomas wrote on his Twitter page, where he shared the harrowing footage. “We’re sick of the discrimination. Never thought I’d have a personal experience with racism like this. This man pulled a gun on us because we were walking up to my friend’s apartment without a key.”
Officer Damon Miller, spokesman for Tallahassee PD, said the department learned of the incident the next day, although the students said they were reluctant to call the cops, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
“We’re asking everyone to be patient as we are going to do our normal procedure as far as investigating cases,” Miller said.
The students eventually made it to the party when their friend, Zavion Flowers, came down the stairs and got them after the harrowing encounter, according to The Famuan. In a letter to residents, the Stadium Centre management confirmed that the gun-waving man in the video, Crandall, doesn’t even live there.
“Firearms are prohibited on our property and we take this matter very seriously,” the statement read. “Moreover, we are firmly committed to creating a diverse residential community that is inclusive and welcoming to all.”
As for Crandall, he’s reportedly been fired from his job at the Baymont Inn & Suites.
No arrests have been made in the incident, however.
Watch more in the video below.