Virginia smoke shop employee faces multiple charges after shooting robber

You would think that in the face of the chaos created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, someone who defends his employer’s place of business from a break-in would be praised as a hero.

Think again.

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Hamzeh Abushariah, 33, is an employee at the Arlington Smoke Shop in Green Valley, Virginia, in Arlington County. Hamzeh was temporarily staying in a back room at the shop because his apartment complex in Washington, DC had experienced a coronavirus outbreak and he was practicing social distancing, as prescribed by the authorities.

At approximately 4:35 AM on Sunday morning, Hamzeh was awakened when three people wearing masks broke into the shop and attempted to steal cash and merchandise, according to a report at WJLA News. Upstairs neighbors reported that a window was broken, which sounded like a car ramming into the store. Hamzeh said it sounded like a shotgun firing.

Hamzeh grabbed a gun – one of two his employer had purchased because he was afraid something like this would happen – and confronted the intruders. He fired a single shot, which wounded one juvenile suspect. He fired again as the would-be robbers fled the premises, but didn’t hit anyone. The two who were not hit fled the premises.

Both Arlington County Police and Jowan Zuber, the owner of Arlington Smoke Shop, soon responded to the scene. Zuber told Tucker Carlson Tonight that even though the shooting was in self-defense, he felt like the police had treated him and Hamzeh like the criminals.

The police ended up arresting Hamzeh. He has been charged with malicious wounding, reckless handling of a firearm, and violation of a protective order.

The suspect who was shot only experienced a minor injury and is expected to survive. The police say he will likely be charged with breaking and entering.

Zuber is outraged that his employee should be charged with criminal offenses simply for having defended his place of business and himself from a break-in. He told WJLA that he had purchased two firearms a few weeks before the incident because he had feared that someone would take advantage of the coronavirus crisis to try to break into his establishment. He also said that the guns are registered.

Hamzeh is currently being held by police on no bond. Zuber went to the county jail to bail Hamzeh out, as he was initially being held on $25,000 bond, but this was appealed by the Prosecutor.

“It’s very sad for America today as American citizens practice their Second Amendment to protect the store and their lives,” Zuber told Tucker Carlson in a report at Fox News. “Do you know what the police officer told him? ‘Why didn’t you run out the back door?’”

The Founding Fathers gave us the Second Amendment because they wanted ordinary Americans to be able to defend themselves. But as this incident – as well as attempts to shut down gun shops across the country under emergency measures – have shown us, today’s politicians fear the armed American citizen and see him as a greater threat than those who would take advantage of today’s crisis to commit crimes.