A Tennessee store clerk who shot and killed a teenager for stealing a $2 beer has been convicted of murder, CNN reports.
Anwar Ghazali will be sentenced on September 23 for the March 2018 killing of 17-year-old Dorian Harris, following his conviction this week on charges of second-degree murder.
On March 29, 2018, Harris walked into the Top Stop Shop convenience store in Memphis and, as Memphis’ WMC-TV reported at the time, grabbed a $2 beer and walked out without paying for it. Store owner Ghazali, who would sometimes hire Harris to do odd jobs around the store, told the teen to leave.
Witness Beverly Loverson, who was there that night, testified at Ghazali’s trial how the shooting went down, as reported in a companion WMC-TV report. She says that she arrived at the store to see Harris outside, apparently angered, as he was throwing things at the building. Not long afterwards, Ghazali emerged from the store carrying his gun, and began chasing the young man.
Ghazali fired several times, with at least three shots hitting Harris. Ghazali left him to bleed out; his body was found two days later. Ghazali, for his part, told witnesses, “I think I shot him,” but didn’t call police.
In court this afternoon covering the Anwar Ghazali murder trial. Ghazali is accused of fatally shooting 17-year-old Dorian Harris in March 2018 over allegedly stealing a beer from the Top Stop Shop in north Memphis. #WMC5 pic.twitter.com/kLZGNFmhAQ— Jessica Holley (@Jessica_Holley) August 13, 2019
Sarah Patton, who lived near the site where Harris’ body was found, said via The Root that the shooting wasn’t necessary.
“He didn’t have to kill him, you know?” Patton said.
Similarly, Dorian’s grandmother, Effie Fitch, said that the theft could have been handled differently.
“It shouldn’t have happened like that. He was a child and that was an adult. He ought to have more responsibility than that and he’s running a business,” she said. She also noted that it’s possible that Dorian might have lived had Ghazali called the police, instead of leaving him to die.
At Ghazali’s trial, prosecutor Lora Fowler said that Ghazali didn’t let the rule of law play out over this crime, and instead took matters into his own hands. “This defendant took it upon himself to be the judge and jury and the executioner over a $2 beer,” she said.
Ghazali’s defense attorney, Blake Ballin, testified that Ghazali intended only to scare the teen, not kill him. What’s more, according to The Memphis Commercial Appeal, Ghazali and Harris were over 70 feet apart when Ghazali fired the fatal shot. That proves that Ghazali had no intention of killing the teen, as “even [basketball star] Steph Curry can’t guarantee that,” he said.