Angry customer reportedly shoots Chipotle employee over guacamole

By: Kathryn Pentiuk | Southfield Sun | Published April 17, 2024




SOUTHFIELD — Just a stone’s throw away from the Southfield Police Department, an angry customer reportedly pulled a gun on a Chipotle employee at 6:52 p.m. April 5 in the 26000 block of Evergreen Road.

“When this incident happened at the Chipotle restaurant, it became national attention, primarily because Chipotle is a well-recognized establishment and even very popular here in the city of Southfield. A lot of questions emerge as to, how did this happen? What was the reason for this happening?” Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren stated. “But what I will suggest to you, the reason it has happened is because of poor decisions, inability to control emotions, and that’s what led to the shooting.”

The victim, a 21-year-old Detroit man, was shot in the leg by a suspect whom police identified as Aaron Michael Brown, a 32-year-old Detroit resident, after a dispute over guacamole.

While at the counter, Brown asked for extra guacamole on the food that he had purchased. Barren explained that a female employee had served Brown what he believed to be too small of a portion of guacamole. Brown called her a derogatory name, upsetting her, and other Chipotle employees escorted her away to avoid further conflict, police said.

While a team of employees were trying to calm her down, the counter was left unattended, and Brown went behind the counter, bagged his purchased items and began to serve himself more guacamole, according to police. The 21-year-old victim walked from the kitchen to the counter, where he observed Brown serving himself. He reportedly proceeded to knock the guacamole out of Brown’s hand, police said, and Brown allegedly grabbed the victim by the neck and slammed him into the refrigerator. A fight broke out as the other employees tried to get Brown away from their co-worker.

Brown then pulled out a 9 mm handgun, which had been concealed on his right hip, and fired one round, striking the victim in his right knee, police said. After the shot was fired, the occupants of the restaurant fled for safety.

Surveillance footage shows Brown calmly collecting his food and leaving the establishment. Soon after, Southfield police pulled Brown over at the Arbor Lofts, on Civic Center Drive, and placed him into custody.

Barren stated that the victim sustained a non-life-threatening wound and is in stable condition.

“I repeat the fact that he outweighed and had a bigger stature than his 21-year-old victim. But the coward that he is pulls out a handgun and shoots. So it makes no sense, and we will hold him accountable.”

Brown has no previous criminal history and has a valid CPL license, which expires in 2026. He was charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, discharging a weapon in or at a building causing injury, and two counts of possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

An attorney for Brown could not be reached for comment by press time.