It was late, a little after 10 p.m., when 17-year-old Dorian Harris walked into the Top Stop Shop convenience store in Memphis.
The teen swiped a beer from the store without paying and walked out, according to police records obtained by WREG. That’s when the clerk on duty, 28-year-old Anwar Ghazali, pulled out a gun from his right side, according to police.
Ghazali exited the store and chased after Harris before firing several shots at the teen, who was still walking away, according to police. Police say Ghazali walked back to the store and told a witness ‘I think I shot him.” He never called 911.
Two days later, on March 31, Memphis resident Sarah Patton found the Harris’ body lying next to her home and called police, reported the Commercial Appeal. The body had a gunshot wound on the thigh, police said.
Patton told WREG she heard gunshots a few nights ago, but had brushed them off. “I didn't see anybody running or anything, so I didn't think anymore about it,” she told the station. Police say Harris was wearing the same clothes he had on the night of the alleged shooting, reported Fox 13.
Police arrested Ghazali, who police told the Commercial Appeal he never “officially” knew that the teen was hit. Ghazali waived his Miranda rights and admitted to firing several shots that night, police said.
“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,” Memphis Police Department spokesman Louis Brownlee told the Commercial Appeal.
Neighbors from around where Harris’ body was found told WREG they did not think the shooting was justified. “He didn't have to kill him, you know?” Patton, the woman who found the body by her house, told the station. “You don't have any reason to be shooting no kids,” another neighbor added.
“It shouldn't have happened like that,” Harris' grandmother Effie Fitch told WMC. “He was a child and that was an adult. He ought to have more responsibility than that and he's running a business.”
“This has been painted in the community as an execution style killing over a stolen beer and that is simply not the case. I understand the uproar in the community...but there is more to this story than meets the eye,” Ghazali’s attorney Blake Ballin wrote in a statement on April 4.