‘Club Sunoco’: Flint gas station turns into unauthorized party venue
A shooting earlier this week linked to violence at gas station at Flushing Road and Ballenger Highway
FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - A Flint gas station is being called “Club Sunoco” after it apparently turned into a party spot over the last year.
A few bystanders shot video this week of a fight that broke out between at least two dozen people. The Flint Police Department responded to the Sunoco station that evening, but there were no reported arrests or injuries.
Flint Police Chief Terence Green is working to stop the repeated parties at the gas station because so many neighbors in the area of Flushing Road and Ballenger Highway have been complaining and the gatherings are leading to other crimes in the city.
“We’ve been dispatched there several times for different issues like the drag racing, the drifting in the intersection,” he said.
Green believes the Sunoco and other random places in the city became popular hangouts because nightclubs are not allowed to open due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Sunoco station also is open 24 hours a day, although the fight in Tuesday’s video happened around 10 p.m.
Green attributed a shooting this week to a party at the Sunoco. But he said part of the issue is getting owners of the gas station to work with police.
“An investigation has revealed that that fight led to a nonfatal shooting at a different time in a different location,” Green said. “But that’s the danger of these large gatherings, just loitering at convenience stores and party stores. It leaves some potential for violence to erupt. And now you have a video confirming that.”
The video of a party shot on Tuesday night appears to show the chaos start inside the Sunoco convenience store with people ruining merchandise during the fight. Eventually, the brawl spilled out into the parking lot by the gas pumps.
Employees at the gas station seemed unconcerned about the fracas on Friday. That’s why Green said this is only going to continue to happen
He is aware of complaints about the Sunoco since at least September, when he took over the Flint Police Department. He said getting the owners to cooperate was the first step in shutting it down, followed by posting no trespassing and no loitering signs.
“That authorizes us to go on and remove those individuals and cite those individuals for violating the city ordinance that is in place,” Green said.
He said police still can and will take action even if the Sunoco owners refuse to cooperate.
“We’re not going to give up on it,” Green said. “We’re gonna do everything in our power to prevent a shooting, a large fight, a large melee such as the one that was recorded Tuesday night.”
Green said the Sunoco isn’t the only gas station causing trouble around Flint. He has a list of at least 11 places, so anyone who has called in a complaint could see no trespassing or loitering signs up in that business’ window soon.
Flint police are trying to create partnerships across the city.
Green is in favor of City Council’s proposed ordinance that would require gas stations, convenience stores and liquor stores in Flint to close by 10 p.m. every night. He believes it would make a difference across the city.
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