Gasoline pumps locked, owner arrested after allegedly pointing gun at customer

TANGIPAHOA, LA (WAFB) - Some residents in the village of Tangipahoa are avoiding one particular convenience store at all costs.

The gas nozzles at TG Mini Mart were locked down on Wednesday, two days after the store owner, Sat Pal Bathla, was arrested.

The store is a popular one-stop-shop in the Village of Tangipahoa, perhaps because it's the only one. While it has its fair share of regular customers, some of them are scared to set foot inside after getting wind of what shopper Jamonique Norman said the owner did to her on Monday.

"He pulled a gun in my face telling me he would have bullets going through my body," Norman said.
Norman said that is what happened when she pulled Bathla aside to tell him she was concerned she bought bad gasoline from his store.

"We ended up going to an Auto Zone in Kentwood to put my vehicle on a tester machine. They let me know that my spark plugs were burnt out and that the water went to my motor," Norman explained.

Another customer, Sheila Burton, said she saw Bathla threaten Norman.

"It scared me because I could have been the first one to get a bullet in my head because I was standing in the door the way he was pointing the gun," Burton said.

Norman said she slipped out of the store and called the police.

The Tangipahoa Sheriff's Office reports a deputy arrested Bathla after taking statements from several witnesses and retrieving a loaded revolver from him.  

Norman is pressing criminal charges but she said her vehicle is still not running right.

"Right now I hadn't been able to take it nowhere because it really won't stay crunk enough to even try to make that effort," Norman said.

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry tested the pumps this week. While they said they did not find water in the gasoline, they did state they noticed the octane levels in some of the pumps did not meet the minimum standard required by the federal government. They shut down those pumps.

"I refuse to go back to this store. If I have to walk to Kentwood, I refuse to spend my money," Burton said.

A man, who identified himself as Bathla's cousin, said the owner was not available to comment.

As for Norman, she said, she is not letting this go.

"Something is not right about that situation, and if he thinks he can sell gas that's not buyable and get away with it action should be taken place," Norman said.

A spokeswoman for the state said the owner of TG Mini Mart must remove all of the substandard gasoline, replace it, and have it retested before he can sell it again.

She added, there is no way to tell whether the low octane had any impact on Norman's car.

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