A black man walked into the Bravo Expresso coffee shop this morning and said to the first shift co-owner, “I am God. This is the last day of your life,” and pulled out a gun.
By Lisa Loucks-Christenson, Investigative Photojournalist and Reporter
Published: May 22, 2023 at 23:44 CDT
Rochester, Minn.—(Lisa Loucks-Christenson Media Syndicate) — One man was taken into custody this morning following an incident that involved a terroristic threat and a gun. These are all the details I have at this time. I will update this as I found out more.
The Rochester Police were called to Bravo Expresso this morning in the Galleria at University Square located at 111 Broadway Avenue South in southeast Rochester, apprehending and arresting the man, who had, according to my source and his source, proclaimed to be “God.”
Later, my source shared that their source said that the gun turned out to be a BB Gun. To protect the safety of both my source and their source, names will not be disclosed.
A few hours later, my source received another call from his source, stating, the police were coming back again, because a man fitting the description of the gunman from earlier appeared to be in the mall again. Police found that man in the men’s room, brandishing a skateboard, but no gun. No arrest was made.
Tomorrow, a photo of another suspicious man who had visited my store last week, and another nearby store, will be given to us at Peacock Books & Wildlife Art. Last week, my husband said he noticed the customer loading his pockets with candy from our candy dish and said, “Can I help you?”
The man said, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
My husband said, “What are you sorry about?”
The man replied, “That you got a bookstore—it’s a dying thing.”
My husband said, “Well, it’s not, but thank you anyway.”
The suspicious man, left with a bulging pocket of a penny candy, with negative words exchanged, but without further comment. If my candy feeds him for the day, or an hour isn’t important—he left without a problem. I hate seeing people hungry.
My husband said the man left, but went into a neighboring store. Later, the owner of that store contacted my husband. They asked him if he was the same man that had been had been acting suspiciously in my store. My husband confirmed it was the same man. After the man left their store, he sat outside of it for a couple of hours. My husband and that store owner stayed in communication with each other, paying close attention to the suspicious man and anything that followed.
Was the gun man today the same man in my store and nearby store last week? Was he there staking out the mall? Was he looking for easy targets? Who else was her watching? How many people did he see arrive and pass by through the skyways, exits, and entrances? Was he taking a mental note of what shops were still open, what staff were around at that time of day?
We don’t know—yet—if it’s even the same man. These questions are on my mind tonight.
Tomorrow, we’ll see that important photo of the man involved in the incident with the BB gun today.
As a Christian, I can’t help but think about the verse, “And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” Exodus 33:20 (KJV) as quoted from www.KingJamesbibleonline.org.
Tomorrow we will be looking at the pictures and face of the man from tpday's incident, we'll compare the pictures of the suspicious man in our store and the neighboring store from last week, the “Candy Man Mall Watcher,” but I don’t believe any of us are going to witness the face of God.
God wouldn’t need a BB Gun, he would probably still use a Staff like the one Moses used, one that could turn into a snake, or a modern day Burning Bush to go with the coffee. He wouldn’t need to make threat to take away the very life God says He breathes His life into.
I don’t think any police officer or even a few of them would be able to apprehend and arrest God. But, like today, they could arrest a man with a God-complex, a man identifying himself as “God” who, for some reason, felt he had the right to share with the coffee shop co-owner that it was that shop co-owners’ last day of life.
Whoever it is, he’ll become part of our history too. A tacked photo in an evidence book we keep, a “look book” of odd and strange happenings, incidents, and people. We’ll know at once if he’s the same man in our store last week. Or just one we’ll keep in our files.
That was not, however, the only gun incident in the mall last week. There was another one. My source and another store owner were talking when they heard a customer scream, “Gun! He has a gun!”
My source described him as a tall Iranian-looking man. The lady had said that he had a gun. Her screaming got that man’s attention—something he didn’t seem to want—because he then ran out the exit door to Broadway. My source was able to see him, but not the gun. Why did he run?
At Peacock Books & Wildlife Art we have a security plan in place. I would help make one for anyone needing help with one.
If you arrive on any day and find my Peacock Books & Wildlife Art store closed, during business hours—without a note—it may be closed because of another incident.
In one year, I’ve had an attempted break-in (all on video), countless homeless people lingering by my door, pulling on it, riding their bikes in the mall when it was closed; a traveling church group who were infected with Covid came in and spread it to our family. Leaving me little choice but to close my store for the first month at our new location.
Our sign was stolen and a second sign was made. This sign modeled a pair of giant googly eyes. Eyes that were stolen a few months later. A raid with several teenagers that came in and stole around $100 bucks in books and ran out; countless people that have tried to shoplift, pocket something, or just showed up acting strange—and appeared threatening.
Living with awareness of your surroundings beats cluelessness every time. I’d rather have a list of “suspicious circumstances” reports than to not have the chance to file another one because I wasn’t paying attention and something happens to me.
When a homeless man cornered me in a different shop a couple of years ago, he came up against me—his whisker distance separated my lips from touching his face—he tried forcing me in the back room. I could hear the police sirens but I only had seconds to obey him or I stand against his demand. I chose to fight him. I kept my eyes on his right arm, still behind his back. I knew he had something in his right hand. I even have the photos, proving it.
I debated on whether to publish this. Our downtown businesses don’t need another reason for people to avoid the downtown. Two incidents with guns, two more incidents with suspicious people in a week—but I decided to shine the light on these happenings, willing to take the loss to help fellow shops.
We don’t want to lose more business, but bringing out this information and sharing it will make it safer for all of us. A period of lost sales hurts all of us, but it also brings out those who defend our businesses, families, stores and products. If you see something suspicious, call the police. Report it.
Together, we can be safer by watching over each other, whether as businesses, customers, neighbors, employees, staff, or any combination thereof. We don’t need another tragedy to remind us that our safety is only as good as our awareness, our security plan, and staying connected.
UPDATED from my story 05/22/2023, these posts, the article, and update will be published in an upcoming book I’m writing. Posted on LinkedIn 05/23/2023 at 18:00 CDT.
My husband just confirmed that the photo he received from a source, is the same black man that was in my store, Peacock Books & Wildlife Art in Rochester, Minnesota, last week.
My husband had called me that day. I was working remotely, and he told me that there was a man he was watching who was acting suspicious. He observed how he was acting, while filling his pocket with the majority of the candy in the candy dish.
He had told my husband, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
My husband told him that he didn’t have to be sorry. We both would rather see someone get some food, even candy, then to be hungry.
The man then replied, “You have a bookstore. It’s a dying thing.”
Yesterday, that same man showed up at the coffee shop upstairs and told the co-owner of the coffee shop,
“I am God. This is the last day of your life,” and pulled out a gun, a source told me. I’m not identifying sources to protect their safety.
It turned out to be a BB gun. The police were called. He was arrested, fined $300 bucks, and released. Last night he returned to the mall again. He was taken out of the building again, trespassed twice.
“The third time he shows up, he is supposed to get locked up,” my source said.
Lisa Loucks-Christenson is a graduate of NYU x RollingStone Modern Journalism Course, holds Certificates of Completion in Investigative Journalism through Anderson School of Journalism, Writing About Suicide for Journalists, Weather for Journalists, Digital Journalism, Muckraking (audit mode), Ethical Hacking, Professional Diplomas and Certified Certificates in Abnormal Psychology, Criminal Psychology, Behavioral Psychology, Animal Behavior, Women in the Environment, and many more.
Her credits and bylines include: Disney, IBM, Harcourt, Rigby, Self Magazine, Esquire Magazine, Hearst Publications, Harper-Collins, Trips & Journeys, Writer's Digest, Ron Schara's Minnesota Bound, The National Eagle Center, Travel World International.
Lisa is a multiple #1 bestselling and award-winning author, illustrator, photographer with international awards earned (partial);
2020 Royal Dragonfly Award SM - Best Illustrations, "Don't Eat Bees!"
2020 Royal Dragonfly Award SM - Children's Books 6 and Older, "Don't Eat Bees!
Harlequin's Love Inspired® Suspense, "Hawk of Wa Pu Ta Creek" Finalist
Writer's Digest 71st Annual Short Story Competition, "Narrow Paths"
Writer's Weekly, "Model Maker"
Writer's Weekly, "Carousel Riders"
Writer's Weekly "Gifts of Time"
Photo District News - Best Portfolio
Monthly Photo Contest - National Enquirer
Cover Designs / Best Characters of Lisa's Winning Covers:
Tremble Creek Tornado, Wolves of Whitewater Falls
Eternal Things: Rami Davis of Paris
Donnie Destin™ in Worm Moon