At Five Star Pizza, A Confrontation With A Dissatisfied Customer Ends With a Gun
FlaglerLive | December 23, 2015
Tammy Bouie wasn’t happy with the delivery she got from Five Star Pizza. She thought it was cold. She protested by phone then in person at the Five Star store in the Winn Dixie shopping center off Palm Coast Parkway. By the time it was over, Denis Gotlib, the store owner and manager, faced a criminal charge for pulling out a gun and briefly pointing it at Bouie as the two argued and she refused to leave the store. Gotlib had actually called 911 to report that Bouie would not leave his store.
Bouie told police she bought a pizza and other items the evening of Dec. 19 and had them delivered to her home on Riveria Estates Drive in Palm Coast, but that she and her family were dissatisfied with the quality of the pizza: it was burnt and cold, according to the account related in a police report. She called Five Star and requested a refund. An employee told her not eat any more of the pizza and to bring it back to the store for the refund. But moments later she says the manager called and told her there’d be no refund “because she would not be satisfied,” the report states, and he hung up the phone.
Bouie then headed to Five Star with what remained of the pizza: half of it had been consumed. She entered the business with her daughter and placed the pizza on the counter. She and Gotlib talked. She claims Gotlib was rude, refused her a refund, and allegedly became aggressive, asking her to leave and yelling at her.
Bouie, according to the report, “then explained as she was standing at the counter, the manager reached down to his right side waistband and pulled out what she thought was a stun gun but looked similar to a firearm. [Gotlib] continued to yell at her according to [Bouie] while holding the weapon down to his side, saying he has a right to defend his business.” By then Gotlib was on the phone to 911.
In his account to a sheriff’s deputy, Gotlib said his driver assured him the pizza was hot when it had been delivered, and that he wasn’t going to refund the cost of a half-eaten pizza. He told her several times to leave. She wouldn’t. Gotlib said “he slightly pulled up his shirt to show her he had a concealed firearm,” according to his account to deputies.
Gotlib “was hesitant to allow us to review the video surveillance footage of the incident but then agreed to allow us to review it,” the report states. Gotlib “explained he was only protecting his business and that he felt that if the female saw he had a weapon that she may comply and leave the business.”
Deputies were able to review the video at the store but not get a copy. The video showed the incident much as the Bouie and Gotlib described it, with slight differences. As the two appear to be either talking or arguing with each other, Gotlib is on the phone, and Bouie “is seen just standing on the customer side of the counter, also holding her phone but does not appear to be saying anything or doing anything.” Then at one point Gotlib “appears to reach for the side of his person as if he wants to grab something. As [Gotlib] is on the phone, he is observed reaching to his right side and un-holsters the firearm and quickly raises it in an upward angle, then quickly points it down towards the ground. On the video though it shows as [Gotlib] pulls the gun out and raises it, the point of the gun appears to cross the face area of the female for a brief second as she is standing there, then back towards the floor.”
Bouie—who in 2014 faced a felony child abuse charge, which was then reduced to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a child, then dropped—said the incident happened so quick she thought the weapon was a stun gun that looked like a Glock. Bouie, the report states, “was just standing there, not doing anything malicious or threatening.”
Gotlib said he was “not in fear but thought he had a right to stand his ground because the female was refusing to leave,” the report states. Gotlib “never intentionally pointed the gun at the female but as a result of being careless and angry and not in necessary self-defense in front of a person commits a crime of improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon or firearm.”
Deputies determined a crime occurred but “not in the presence of a Law Enforcement so no physical arrest was made,” the report states—an odd distinction, as arrests are routinely made based on crimes determined to have happened, whether in the presence of police or not. A charging affidavit was completed and forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office for review. The State Attorney will determine whether to pursue the charge.
The firearm, a Glock 19 model, was confiscated and submitted into evidence. Gotlib was not able to operate the video surveillance system to provide deputies with a copy, but said he’d obtain a DVD.