Update (4/2): Prosecutors at Abushariah’s bond hearing showed the judge surveillance video that they say captures Abushariah shooting one of the burglars “point-blank in the back.” They also said Abushariah told investigators “I wish him dead” after detectives told him that he was going to be charged.
Abushariah has four prior assault and battery charges, one of which includes a protective order that prohibits him from possessing a gun.
Abushariah’s lawyer argued this is a “reasonable self-defense case” and noted that the store was pitch black at the time of the incident.
A Virginia man has been jailed without bond after he opened fire on three masked suspects who tried to rob his store early Sunday morning.
Hamzeh Abushariah, 33, had been sleeping in the backroom of a smoke shop in Arlington when he heard the front window’s glass breaking around 4:30 a.m. Abushariah had been sleeping in the store to save money and avoid coronavirus, according to the store’s owner, Jowan Zuber.
Abushariah grabbed a handgun and opened the door to the sales floor, where he saw three masked suspects attempting to steal from the store, according to a police report obtained by local media
Abushariah opened fire on the three suspects, striking one while the other two fled. The suspect who was shot was a juvenile who sustained a “serious but not life-threatening injury,” according to police.
The police report also notes that Abushariah retreated to the backroom after his initial shots but returned to fire again as the suspects fled.
Zuber told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that when police arrived, they asked Abushariah why he didn’t run out the back door.
“It’s very sad for America today as American citizens practice their Second Amendment to protect the store and their lives,” Zuber said. “Do you know what the [responding] police officer told him [Abushariah]? ‘Why didn’t you run out the back door?'”
Abushariah was arrested and charged with malicious wounding, reckless handling of a firearm, and violation of a protective order.
“This is very sad,” Zuber told Carlson. “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.”
Zuber said he had purchased two handguns several weeks prior because he feared civil unrest as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We bought protection for the store just in case, because on Facebook you see a lot of robberies, a lot of things going on,” Zuber told WJLA.
Multiple reports have speculated that police response times will be slowed during the COVID-19 outbreak, and police departments across the country have said that they won’t be responding to certain types of crime.
Arlington County Police say Abushariah was charged with violating a protective order because he was not allowed to have a firearm.
Arlington County officials also encouraged citizens not to rush to judgment and claimed to have additional details that informed their decision to prosecute Abushariah.
4/5 This much we can say: there’s evidence we are not at liberty to share that support the charges, the decision was not made lightly, and we are not at the end of charging decisions as to the breaking & entering. We’ll charge based on still developing facts— Arlington & Falls Church Virginia CA (@CA4Arlington) March 30, 2020
SEE ALSO: Everytown on Gun Industry Being ‘Essential’: Guns Don’t Make You Safer… You Can’t Shoot a Virus
In the meantime, Zuber fears that Abushariah’s health will deteriorate the longer he remains in jail. He told Carlson he “heard [Abushariah] coughing very hard” and believes people should be kept away from jail at this time.
As a general rule, the law in Virginia does not require a person to retreat prior to deadly force when confronted with an aggressor, provided the person did not provoke the confrontation and the force is proportional to the harm threatened, according to Virginia lawyer Thomas M. Wilson.
Virginia also does not require handguns to be registered to own.