An elderly Tallahassee, Florida, couple is facing charges after allegedly shooting at two Black men and a young Black child, who were just dropping off a U-Hall at a strip mall.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the incident occurred last Thursday night when Charles McMillon, Jr., was with his young son and a childhood friend, Kendrick Clemons, dropping off the U-Haul at Fountain Plaza on Apalachee Parkway. The three had just dropped off the van and were preparing to leave in McMillon’s truck when they heard a gunshot.
As they looked back, they saw the older White couple—identified as Wallace Fountain, 77, and his wife, Beverly Fountain, 72—coming toward them brandishing guns.
McMillon quickly drove away, hearing more gunfire as they fled. However, a police officer happened to be at the scene after the shooting began and intervened.
According to the Democrat, the Fountains, who own the strip mall, were in a U-Haul themselves, apparently staking out the location after allegedly having issues with people stealing gas.
However, McMillion and Clemons said that the couple turned vigilantes never asked them any questions and that they just started shooting, so the men believe that the shooting was racially motivated.
“They saw three Black people, unarmed, dropping off a U-Haul,” McMillon said. “They got guns they started shooting. That’s why it’s racially motivated.”
Beverly Fountain, who worked as a secretary for the State Attorney’s Office until she retired in 1996, brushed off the men’s race, saying she didn’t even see skin color.
“Were they Black?” she asked. “We weren’t going off on that at all. You’ve got vandalism and theft going on at your property. Trying to protect your property—that’s the only issue.”
The Fountains are now facing three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill.
The Fountains claimed they never pointed their weapons at the trio; however, the arrest report noted that they were reluctant to put down their weapons when ordered to by police.
“Both the male and female were not obeying my commands at first,” the arrest report says. “However, they eventually placed their firearms on the ground and laid on the ground away from the firearms.”
Charles Gee, an attorney representing McMillon and Clemons, pointed to the “wave of anti-Black vigilantism” that the country is currently seeing as part of the reason why his clients were targeted.
“This country is seeing a wave of anti-Black vigilantism,” Gee said. “And what we’re seeing that almost happened…is someone taking the law into their own hands and serving as cop, judge, jury and ultimately executioner.”