The owner of a Virginia smoke shop told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Tuesday night that he is outraged that one of his employees has been charged after fending off a trio of would-be robbers over the weekend.
“They had broken into the store [early Sunday], three men with masks on,” Jowan Zuber told host 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.”
The employee, identified by WJLA as 33-year-old Hamzeh Abushariah, was sleeping in the store in order to practice social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to Zuber, Abushariah woke up, reached for a pistol and shot at the intruders to “scare them,” hitting one of the three young men.
Zuber told Carlson that when police arrived, he assumed that Abushariah was “in the right” and practicing self-defense, but “the cops [were] treating us like we were the ones that caused the harm.”
Abushariah was charged with malicious wounding, reckless handling of a firearm and violating a protective order, according to a police statement obtained by local blog ARLNow. Arlington Police also told WJLA that the charge of violation of a protective order related to Abushariah reportedly being ordered not to have a firearm.
“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?'”
Zuber added that when he went to the jail to bond out Abushariah, the $25,000 bond was appealed by the prosecutor.
“This is very sad,” he 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.”
Zuber went on to say that he was fearing for Abushariah’s health after hearing him coughing heavily after only a short time behind bars.
In a statement Monday, Arlington/Falls Church Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti said 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.”
Police said in their statement the burglary suspect who was shot by Abushariah suffered injuries that were “serious but not life-threatening.”
“The other two subjects fled the scene on foot prior to police arrival,” the statement said, adding that additional charges related to the breaking and entering are anticipated at a later date.”