The mother of a man killed Monday night at an east-side gas station said she is heartbroken but won’t allow herself to hate the person who shot her son.

Joshua Lewis

“I forgive him,” Emily Rippy said in an interview Wednesday. “I thank God I brought my son up in the ways of the Lord and he was saved, and I pray for him and I forgave him for my son already.”  

Joshua Lewis, 30, was shot in the head at the 76 station at 10072 Gratiot about 10:35 p.m. Monday.

Police said Lewis was armed with some sort of weapon that was not a gun when he tried to rob an 18-year-old clerk. That man was taken into custody; no charging decision had been made as of Wednesday, said Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

Detroit police chief James Craig addressed the shooting at a news conference Wednesday.

Craig said investigators believe the weapon used in the shooting was an AK-47 semiautomatic rifle. 

“It’s a tragic, tragic situation,” the chief said. “It’s unthinkable. We’re talking about a property crime … there was no threat to (the clerk’s) life from what we could see — and you make the decision to pick up a high-powered rifle? It’s troubling. Many of our local activists have reached out; they’re angry.

“The best course for this clerk should’ve been to contact police,” he said. “I’ve reviewed the video; it’s just horrible. Absolutely horrible. This should not have happened … my prayers go out to the family of that slain young man.”

Assistant chief Todd Bettison said the gas station, which is closed, doesn’t have a business license.

“I’ve had a conversation with Buildings and Safety, and the Law Department, and I can tell you that place does not have a current business license, and they’re out of compliance. We’re actively exploring our options.”

Rippy said her son frequented the gas station because it was in the neighborhood where they lived.

On Wednesday, Rippy said she attended a protest at the spot her son was shot, where members of the community called for justice for her son.

“I can’t remember everyone who was there, but we all came to the gas station and it was boarded up and it was a call for justice to be served on my sons’ behalf,” she said. “And I pray that justice is served.” 

Lewis was a widowed husband and father of five, his mother said.

According to online records of the Michigan Department of Corrections, Lewis had absconded from parole Oct. 2.