Detroit gas station where fatal shooting occurred lacked business license

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said the investigation of the shooting is ongoing.

Photo of a Detroit gas station operating without a business license.

The Detroit gas station where three people were shot earlier this month — resulting in one death — was participating in a police surveillance program despite operating without a valid business license.

According to city records, the Mobil station on Six Mile Rd near the Lodge Freeway has partnered with the Detroit Police Department’s Project Green Light since October 2018. The business was shut down after the May 6 fatal shooting of 37-year-old Gregory Kelly.

A gas station in Detroit, Mich. where a fatal shooting occurred on May 6, 2023.

DPD reports the gas station was inspected three times this year to approve the business’ compliance with the video surveillance program.

“Businesses are required to submit their license as part of the application process to become a Project Green Light Detroit partner,” DPD told WDET in a statement. “DPD does not as a matter of routine track a business’ licensing status with the City of Detroit.”

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DPD claims there is no “apparent misconduct” of its members related to the gas station’s business compliance issue, and no evidence that the unlicensed status of the business “directly correlated” to the triple shooting. Police report the Green Light surveillance video assisted in apprehending the suspected shooter — 27-year-old Samuel McCray.

According to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, McCray and the gas station’s clerk argued about a declined payment before the incident. McCray is said to have attempted to leave the store with less than $4 in unpaid items when the unnamed employee locked him and other shooting victims inside the gas station.

McCray then allegedly produced a handgun, fatally shooting Kelly and wounding a 60-year-old and 37-year-old victim, leading the gas station clerk to unlock the door to the store and allowing McCray to flee. He was arrested the following day and charged with first-degree murder, two counts of assault with intent to murder and various felony firearm charges.

“I want to be very clear. The investigation in this case is not finished. It is ongoing,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement.

DPD does not have the resources to enforce non-criminal city code violations, according to officials, but has allocated federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to establish a Code Enforcement Unit this July.

A sign posted on the business by Detroit’s Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department indicates the gas station’s owner faces misdemeanor ordinance violations for each day it operated without a valid city license — potentially receiving a fine of up to $500 or 90 days imprisonment if convicted.

A sign displayed showing a violation by a gas station operating without a valid business license.

A request for comment from Detroit BSEED was not returned as of the publishing of this story. A representative for SMM Investments, which owns the gas station, could not be reached.

Detroit’s surveillance programs like Project Green Light, gunshot-detection technology and automated license plate readers were criticized by public officials and concerned residents at a recent Board of Police Commissioners meeting.

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  • Eli Newman
    Eli Newman is a Reporter/Producer for 101.9 WDET, covering breaking news, politics and community affairs. His favorite Motown track is “It’s The Same Old Song” by the Four Tops.