A worker at a store in Arlington, Va., is being held in jail without bail for defending his store when burglars broke in and attempted to loot a smoke shop.
The worker, Hamzeh Abushariah, 33, of Washington D.C., heard masked robbers break into the store around 4:53 a.m. on Sunday using a large rock to break through the window. Fearing for his life, he quickly grabbed his firearm.
He saw the burglars stealing cash and merchandise and fired a shot, hitting one of them who was later identified as a juvenile, according to ABC7. The other two burglars escaped and Abushariah fired again as they fled. The wounded juvenile is currently being treated for serious non-life-threatening injuries.
Abushariah, a father of two children who weren’t there, had been staying at the apartment complex above the store to save money and avoid the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. He says the coronavirus has infected some people in his Washington, D.C. residence.
According to Johns Hopkins’ latest tacking data, Washington D.C. has 902 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 21 deaths. Virginia has 2,407 confirmed cases and 52 deaths.
Currently being held without bail, Abushariah was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding, Reckless Handling of a Firearm and Violation of a Protective Order.
The shop owner is outraged, saying this a clear example of self-defense.
“They had broken into the store [early Sunday], three men with masks on,” Jowan Zuber told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. “The neighbor upstairs said when they broke the window it sounded like a car smashing into the store. The employee said it sounded like a shotgun.”
Zuber told ABC7 that he bought the gun two weeks ago because of the COVID-19 pandemic “just in case.”
“Put yourself in that position… and you’ll have a better understanding,” he added.
Arlington police say they are investigating the breaking and entering of the business and additional charges are anticipated “at a later date.”
“This is very sad,” Zuber said. “I was born in Arlington, I pay taxes. The gun is registered and everything is perfect. But I can’t believe as American citizens, we are being treated like this. And this gets the criminals out there [thinking] ‘We can go rob stuff, kill people and hurt people and guess what, people have to run out the back door’. This is mind-boggling.”
Arlington/Falls Church Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti said in a statement on Monday that she could not “ethically discuss an ongoing investigation,” but “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.”
This latest incident appears to contradict what Virginia’s Democratic Governor Ralph Northam has said about jailing criminals during the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor, who is a staunch support of restricting gun rights, previously stated on March 19 that the police should use the summons instead of custodial arrests, “if public safety dictates.”
Northam’s decision follows several other Democratic-run jurisdictions. In Philadelphia, narcotics offenses, thefts, burglary, vandalism, prostitution, stolen cars, economic crimes like writing bad checks and committing fraud, and any existing bench warrants will not result in any arrests.