Fights continue at ‘Club Sunoco’ in Flint
Police chief won’t rule out padlocking the gas station at Flushing Road and Ballenger Highway to end the violence
FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Another week brought more fights at what’s been dubbed “Club Sunoco” in Flint.
The Sunoco gas station located at Ballenger Highway and Flushing Road has turned into a meet-up spot over the past year. Video of a fight that erupted in the gas station convenience store and spilled out to the gas pumps went viral on social media a week ago.
It appears little has changed one week later.
Since Flint Police Chief Terence Green first addressed the situation with ABC12 on April 30, he said something has happened at the Sunoco gas station every day. The incidents have been reported in the afternoon, night and even morning hours.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Green said.
He is fed up, the people who live around the gas station are fed up and so are the businesses in the area. But the chief said police have to follow the legal process.
Flint police are aware of now another video showing another fight at the Sunoco with bystanders egging on women engaged in a tussle.
“That’s the reason why we’re cracking down on locations like that,” Green said. “As you see that video -- easily that could erupt into gun violence or some type of serious bodily harm or injury or death even.”
He said that nearly happened with this particular fight. One woman’s head got slammed into the concrete repeatedly. It was unclear how badly she was injured because nobody called for help.
Green is looking to speak with her and the other women involved.
“We’re doing some facial recognition. We’re reviewing the video,” he said. “We have identified the primary individuals in that last fight. We have identified them. I can’t say confidently that they’re involved in other incidents, I’m not sure.”
A fight that broke out at the Sunoco last week was linked to a shooting elsewhere in Flint. Green isn’t aware of other incidents at the gas station escalating into more violence around the city this week.
“I haven’t received any information regarding that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns into that at a later time,” he said.
Green said the Sunoco, which is open 24 hours a day, needs to close in the evenings to end the cycle of violence.
“I will leave it up to them, but we prefer, as far as when we respond to calls for service at this location, it ties up a lot of my resources -- specifically officers,” he said. “So, if they will close at a reasonable hour -- 11 p.m., 10 p.m. -- that would help us greatly.”
However, changing the business hours would require cooperation from the gas station’s owners. Green said they have agreed to help, but he hasn’t seen any actions proving that yet.
He’s asking the business to install signs that ban loitering, so police can get the bad customers off the property. Those signs had not been installed as of Friday afternoon.
Authorities around Genesee County have padlocked other businesses blamed for creating a haven of crime in the past few years, requiring them to close. Green said he’ll consider that with the Sunoco station if it would save a life.
Police have responded to 38 calls for service at the Sunoco station so far in 2021 for the same criminal activity. That number of calls typically has been enough reason to padlock a business in the past.
However, a forced closure requires a lengthy legal process to play out.
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