A Virginia store clerk heard a crash that sounded like a car had crashed into the place at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday. He grabbed a gun and shot at three masked men he found stealing merchandise and cash from the shop.
When it was over, the clerk was the one in handcuffs. He now sits in jail on no bail, charged with crimes for which he could be locked up for 20 years. Those charges include: “Malicious Wounding, Reckless Handling of a Firearm and Violation of a Protective Order.”
Police say they’ll get around to charging the robbers later.
What’s wrong with this picture?
The police incident report says that this is what got 33-year-old Hamzeh Abushariah sent to jail,
The preliminary investigation indicates that three subjects forced entry into a business and began stealing cash and merchandise. An employee inside a secure back room heard the break in, retrieved a firearm, opened the door to the sales floor and discharged the weapon, striking one juvenile subject. The employee retreated to the back room but reentered the sales floor and discharged his weapon again as the subjects were attempting to flee the business.
The Commonwealth’s attorney told WJLA-TV that there’s more to the story:
“Suffice it to say, there is evidence we are not at liberty to share that support the charges, the decision was not made lightly, and we ask the public not to rush to judgment on what is very much a live investigation.”
The clerk’s boss, Jowan Zuber, says they’ve got the wrong person locked up. He told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson that the police asked his employee why he didn’t run away:
“When the police came, we thought we were in the right. Three masked men, 4:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning…The cops are treating us like we’re the ones who caused the harm! This is a very sad day for America today. As an American citizen, practicing the Second Amendment to protect the store and the lives and, not only that, the people [living] upstairs. Do you know what the police officers told him? Why didn’t you run out the back door? And guess what? When we checked the back door, there was a book bag and two rocks and a pole. What were going to do with that? If he would have gone out the back he would have met up with the three masked men and maybe shot them. Then what? He would be doing 60 years in jail?”
Abushariah, who was staying at the shop because his Washington, D.C., apartment complex had several coronavirus cases, apparently shot the suspects (who turned out to be juveniles) as they fled. That’s what police say.
The clerk also had a “protective order” against him, which may prevent him from possessing a gun. Are Arlington prosecutors now claiming that a person with a protective order may not defend himself against three masked thugs who crashed their way into a store and began ransacking it?
A couple of defense attorneys weighed in on Twitter:
Self-defense, not a criminal. One officer said he should've ran out the back door. Held without bond. Another prosecutorial beauty. #stores #smokeshop #employee #Arlington #Virginia #prosecutors #SelfDefense #LawEnforcement #Lawyerhttps://t.co/piKoM1QfiH
— Alden Yako, Esq. (@YakoLaw) April 1, 2020
Asserting self-defense now a crime? https://t.co/isHwEXWgGy
— Robert Barnes (@Barnes_Law) April 1, 2020
Here’s the story from Tucker Carlson: