Store Clerk Fatally Shoots Black Teen For Allegedly Swiping A Beer

“We don't want people to steal from businesses. We also don't want people hunting suspects down and shooting them," said Memphis Police Department spokesman Louis Brownlee.

A Tennessee teenager’s life was taken by an overzealous convenience store clerk who allegedly caught him stealing beer.

According to the Miami Herald, 17-year-old Dorian Harris entered a Top Stop Shop store in Memphis, Tennessee, just after 10 p.m. last week. He allegedly grabbed a beer and walked out without paying for it, prompting 28-year-old clerk Anwar Ghazali to pull out his gun and chase after him.

He fired several shots in Harris' direction, and when he walked back to the store, he reportedly told a witness, “I think I shot him,” but he never checked to confirm nor did he call 911.

On March 31, two days after the incident at the store, local resident Sarah Patton discovered Harris’ body next to her home and alerted the police. His body had a gunshot wound to the thigh.

Ironically, Patton told local reporters she had heard gunshots a few nights before finding Harris, but she didn’t think too much of them.

“I didn't see anybody running or anything, so I didn't think anymore about it,” she said.

According to police, Harris was wearing the same clothes he was seen in the night of the incident at the store. Ghazali was arrested, claiming he never “officially” knew whether he had hit Harris or not. However, he waived his Miranda rights and admitted to firing several shots.

“We don't want people to steal from businesses. We also don't want people hunting suspects down and shooting them. If he's not giving direct, imminent danger to you, leave it be. Call the cops. Let us figure it out,” said Memphis Police Department spokesman Louis Brownlee.

Several community members spoke out against Ghazali’s actions, including Harris' grandmother, Effie Fitch, who said, “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.”

Patton asserted: “He didn't have to kill him, you know?”

Ghazali has since been charged with first-degree murder.

We can all agree that Harris had no business stealing from Ghazali’s store in the first place, especially alcohol considering he was underage, but that serves as no justification for Ghazali’s complete disregard for his life. It was just one beer.

Additionally, the fact that he failed to call 911 even though he suspected he may have hit Harris indicates that his actions were malicious and were likely the result of his personal disdain for the black teen as opposed to being solely about the stolen merchandise.

Nevertheless, both their lives have now taken a tragic turn as Ghazali will likely be spending what’s left of his in prison for murdering Harris.

Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Flickr, Ewan Munro

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