A white woman facing criminal charges after she was filmed pulling a handgun on an unarmed Black woman and her daughters outside 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 outside of a Chipotle restaurant in Orion Township, about 40 miles northwest of Detroit.
Cellphone video of the confrontation shows Jillian outside her vehicle shouting, “Get the (expletive) away! Get away!” while pointing a handgun at the family. She eventually gets back into her vehicle, which her husband drives away.
Takelia Hill, who is Black, claims 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.
“There are a lot of facts that are missing, a lot of things that have only been seen from one side, and not through our eyes,” Wuestenberg told WXYZ.
“This was just an attack, pure and simple, from the other side,” Jillian Wuestenberg said. “We were berated, our race was brought into it. I just wanted to go home to my children and feed my children.”
Wuestenberg acknowledged she may have bumped 15-year-old Makayla Green with her bag as she exited the restaurant, but said she didn’t understand how the incident escalated. Wuestenberg claims she tried to apologize to Makayla but ultimately drew her weapon — which had been holstered beneath her shirt — after she was “rapidly and aggressively approached” by “multiple people” who got “within two feet“ of her.
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.
“It’s hard to watch, it’s scary,” Wuestenberg said of a video of the incident, which has been viewed millions of times online. “The more I see it, the more I realize I’m more afraid of that situation now than I was then. I was terrified at that moment and my terror is just exponentially greater since then, looking back, seeing how in danger I really was. … I remember thinking, I’m not going home tonight.”
She also addressed allegations of racism: “I have never seen myself as ignorant or racist. I have a genuine love for every single person I meet. Everyone has a story, everyone is important, and that really crushed me at the core of who I am, because I genuinely adore every person I meet. … There is so much hate in this world at this point in time and I don’t want a single person to feel what we’re feeling right now.”
Asked if there was anything she would have done differently, Wuestenberg said, “I would have stayed home and cooked.”