A white woman who was charged after she was captured on video pulling a handgun on an unarmed Black woman and her daughters outside of a Michigan restaurant says she feared for her life.
Jillian Wuestenberg, 32, and her husband, Eric Wuestenberg, 42, have been charged with felonious assault stemming from the July 1 confrontation.
Cellphone video captured the confrontation outside of a Chipotle restaurant in Orion Township, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Detroit. Jillian Wuestenberg can be seen outside her vehicle shouting, “Get the (expletive) away! Get away!” while pointing a handgun. She eventually gets back into her vehicle, which her husband drives away.
Takelia Hill, who is Black, has said the confrontation started when Jillian Wuestenberg bumped into Hill’s teenage daughter as they were entering the restaurant.
Jillian Wuestenberg told Detroit television station WXYZ on Thursday that she was fearful when the Hill family members blocked her from getting into her vehicle and then banged on the back of it.
“Within moments, a second or two, I had multiple people within two feet of me and I just remember thinking I’m not going home tonight,” Wuestenberg said.
She was asked what she meant to do when the video shows her loading a round into the chamber of her handgun and pointing it at the Hill family.
“That meant I’m about to die and I don’t want to die,” Wuestenberg said.
Christopher Quinn, an attorney for Takelia Hill, declined to allow her to be interviewed Friday by The Associated Press because the court proceedings are pending.
Quinn said the cellphone video taken by Hill does not show that the Wuestenbergs’ lives were threatened by Hill and her daughters, who were unarmed.
“There was no threat of using a weapon or physical force against (the Wuestenbergs),” Quinn said. “They were in a position to leave the situation. They knew they had their firearms. They came out like Bonnie and Clyde and showed Ms. Hill and her daughters who were in charge.”
Dean Greenblatt, an attorney for the Wuestenbergs, said Friday that he believes Takelia Hill violated Michigan’s ethnic intimidation statute, which prohibits intimidation, harassment and violence based on a person’s race, gender and national origin.
Hill is heard in the video yelling profanities and threatening Jillian Wuestenberg, which included saying, “I will beat your white (expletive), too,” Greenblatt said. The Wuestenbergs also feared that their vehicle’s windows were going to be broken.
The video also shows that Hill “rushed up on Jillian Wuestenberg,” he said. “That would give reasonable cause to believe they would get their white (expletive) beat.”