Suspect in Loft bar shooting was working security, not facing murder charge

Published: Mar. 3, 2020 at 3:45 PM EST
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(3/3/2020) - Just after 1 a.m. Saturday, a birthday celebration at The Loft in downtown Flint ended abruptly.

A fight broke out inside the bar between two women, according to Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said. A security guard working at the business intervened in that fight.

"And when some of the women's friends saw that he had intervened, the male friends got involved as well and started punching the security guard," Leyton said.

The security guard is 27-year-old Allyne Hall. Leyton explained the birthday boy, 28-year-old Daquant Watkins, was one of the several who knocked Hall to the ground

"In order to get the people off of him and disperse the crowd, we believe he pulled out a gun and shot it into the air," Leyton said.

That shot hit and later killed Watkins. Hall was charged Tuesday afternoon and had a dramatic response to his $140,000 bond.

He's facing five felony charges, including involuntary manslaughter, felony firearm, carrying a concealed weapon and tampering with evidence. The latter charged is based on allegations that Hall threw the gun into the Flint River.

Why not murder?

"We think this was an act of gross negligence and we don't think there was any intent to kill the person who ended up dying," Leyton said.

The Loft's owner, Rodney Ott, couldn't name the security company Hall worked with. He said they always have three security guards, plus two people checking IDs.

But, he said he didn't hire armed guards, so he wasn't aware Hall had a gun.

"The company that I used, I have very little relations with the security guards, you know. I mean, I hired the one company, I probably spoke a few words," Ott explained.

Leyton isn't sure how the crowd would've known Hall was a security guard because he wasn't wearing any specific security gear. Leyton is looking to see whether they're a licensed company.

"I think, too, there may have been too many people in the establishment when this whole thing happened. All that has to be looked into," Leyton said.

In May 2018, Hall was arrested on one of these same charges -- carrying a concealed weapon without the proper papers. Court records show he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was ordered to pay a fine.

Hall also told the judge in court Tuesday that he works two other jobs besides security. Hall said he takes care of patients injured in car or motorcycle crashes at Insight and he's a high school football coach.

Flint Community Schools Superintendent Derrick Lopez issued the following statement on Hall's arrest:

“The district is aware of the charges filed against one of our volunteer football coaches. Given the nature of the allegations, this individual will not be allowed on school grounds and cannot serve as a district volunteer in any capacity during these criminal proceedings. Any additional questions on this matter should be directed to local law enforcement.”

The Loft closed its doors Saturday out of respect for the man killed and his family. Ott reopened Tuesday night.

As for the future of the business, Leyton said he's looking into padlocking The Loft bar.

"I think one of the things we have to do in doing our due diligence is determine how many police calls have been made to this establishment in the last few months to determine whether it's an over taxation, if you will, on the Flint Police Department. So we're going to look into that," he said.

Ott believes closing the business is unwarranted because they've been a staple in the Flint community for nearly two decades.

"I think that's a pretty drastic action if that's the way he decides to go. And, I mean, I can't even imagine that he would decide to go that way," Ott said. "I mean, you look at, this is the city of Flint. There's violence everywhere. No violence hits downtown. So, I'll be curious to see if he tries to do that."

He added that he's hired a new security company moving forward. On weekends, he plans to have them pat down guests before they enter and check purses to ensure no one brings a weapon inside.

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