The grocery store clerk never called police to report that he fired his gun at a teen shoplifter in Memphis, Tennessee.
But Anwar Ghazali, the 28-year-old clerk, must have suspected that Dorian Harris, 17, was seriously injured, prosecutors said. “I think I shot him,” Ghazali told a witness after the March 29 incident, according to the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office.
The alleged murder happened over an 89-cent wine cooler, the Commercial Appeal reports, though the district attorney's office said it was over a beer. Moments before the shooting, around 10 p.m., Harris had grabbed the drink from the Top Stop Shop in North Memphis — and then Harris ran out of the store without paying for it, prosecutors said. That’s when Ghazali grabbed a handgun and chased after the 17-year-old. Once Ghazali found Harris nearby, he fired a handful of shots at Harris, prosecutors said.
Then Ghazali went back to the grocery store, where he told the witness that he thought he had shot the teen, according to the district attorney’s office.
Ghazali was indicted Thursday on first-degree murder charges in Harris’ shooting death, according to Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich. He’s being held on $1 million bond.
It wasn’t until two days after the shooting that Harris’ body was found, around 4 p.m. on March 31, prosecutors said. Harris had a bullet wound to his thigh — and he had on the same clothes that he had been wearing the night he was shot.
An attorney for Ghazali maintains his client's innocence.
"He is a high school graduate and has no criminal history," Blake Ballin, an attorney for Ghazali, told the Commercial Appeal. “He absolutely denies that he had the intent to harm Dorian in any way.”
Harris’ grandmother questioned why Ghazali didn’t call police after shooting the ninth-grader.
"He just left him out there to die, and I do believe in all my heart that if he had called the police and let somebody know that he shot somebody that my grandson would have been alive today," Effie Fitch told the Commercial Appeal.
Neighbors told authorities they had heard a shooting, but didn’t see Ghazali or Harris — and had no clue Harris’ body was just feet away from their homes.
"I didn't see it," Sarah Patton, a neighbor, told WREG. "If I knew that it was back there, I would have called the folks before now."
A witness testified in court that Ghazali fired his handgun four or five times at the teen, the Commercial Appeal reports.
"I said, 'Don't kill him, don't kill him, it's just a beer,'" Beverly Loverson, the witness, testified in court. After Harris had been shot, Loverson said she tried searching for him but didn’t find him, so she assumed he got away, the newspaper reports.