A hotel manager in Florida is out of a job after pulling a gun on a group of Florida A&M University students trying to visit their friend at a student housing complex on Saturday.
Video of the incident shows a man, identified as John Crandall, blocking the students — three of whom are Black — from entering the Stadium Centre apartments in Tallahassee, Fla., where they were waiting for a friend to let them into a party. Later, Crandall is seen blocking the young men from boarding an elevator, all while brandishing a gun.
“Once we found out he had the gun, it turned into a whole different situation,” FAMU student Isaiah Thomas (Butterfield) told ABC News. “We really think he was trying to provoke us to the point where it got violent so he could retaliate with the gun.”
“I knew that if this dude even feels threatened, he’s going to find any excuse to pull the trigger,” Thomas added.
It turns out Crandall, a general manager at the local Baymont Inn & Suites by Wyndham, isn’t even a resident of the complex. It wasn’t long before viral video of the tense encounter between him and the young men made its way to his employer.
“Pax Hotel Group believes in bringing up, and adding to the communities we are a part of,” the company said in a statement posted on Instagram. “Our team has gone ahead and took the actions that were necessary to uphold our beliefs.”
An employee of the hotel confirmed Crandall’s identity, telling ABC News, “The man you’re talking about is no longer employed with us and doesn’t represent the values of our company and how others should be treated.”
The hotel later apologized for Crandall’s behavior and said it “doesn’t stand behind the actions of our former general manager.”
The drama unfolded Saturday when the FAMU students arrived to meet their friend, Zavian Flowers, at his apartment but instead encountered Crandall. The man refused to let them into the building because they didn’t have keys, however, and left the students locked outside.
“We were just sitting there confused, like why did he even say anything to us?” Thomas recalled.
Moments later, Crandall returned to reiterate that the students were not getting into the building without a key. That’s when a white resident, identified as Chad, intervened, telling Crandall the young men were his guests in an effort to defuse the situation. That did little to satisfy Crandall, who proceeded to exchange insults with Chad.
Once everyone was inside the building, things quickly escalated as Crandall used his body to block the young men from getting onto the elevator.
“Let me be clear: You ain’t getting in this f–king elevator,” Crandall said. “You think I’m f–king kidding?”
“Do you own the building?” one student replied. “Let me know.”
As the students try to push him to board the elevator, that’s when Crandall pulls out his gun.
“Sir, you bringing out your gun, what’s your purpose for that?” one student said on the video.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Crandall replied sarcastically. “Excuse me. Forgive me.”
The Tallahassee Police Department said the incident is being investigated under Florida’s statute of aggravated assault with deadly weapon without intent to kill. No arrests have been made, however.
The Stadium Centre complex again confirmed that Crandall doesn’t live there and said it has no affiliation with the Baymont Inn hotel or its parent company. The complex said it immediately notified police when they saw the video.
The young men were much more reluctant, however. When asked why they didn’t call the cops, Thomas said, “That would have just been another Black man dead.”