Gun Rights

Virginia Man Shoots an Active Robber in Store, Is Arrested Himself

The store owner thought his employee acted in reasonable defense of property and self. The police disagreed.


An employee temporarily sleeping in Arlington Smoke Shop in Arlington, Virginia, was arrested early Sunday morning on three charges related to him firing a weapon—one that his boss had supplied to him—at burglars who had broken into the store. He ended up wounding one of the three burglars—a juvenile.

As Arlington Now reports, "Police say a group of three suspects broke into [the] store…and began stealing cash and merchandise." According to police reports, 33-year-old Hamzeh Abushariah then "opened the door to the sales floor and discharged the weapon, striking one juvenile subject. The employee retreated to the back room but reentered the sales floor and discharged his weapon again as the subjects were attempting to flee the business."

The other two burglars escaped on foot, and Abushariah was arrested and charged with malicious wounding, reckless handling of a firearm, and violation of a protective order, as the shooter was, according to police, under a previous order to not legally possess a firearm. Conviction on all three charges could lead to him spending up to 25 years in prison.

Interest in armed self-defense is demonstrably spiking, likely due to fears of criminal unrest in a country where up to one-third of the population suddenly has no income because of COVID-19 economic shutdowns. In such times especially, the notion that using a weapon to defend your business from robbers makes you the criminal unsettles the owner of the smoke shop.

Jowan Zuber, the owner of the store, took to Tucker Carlson Tonight last night to decry the police's actions. "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," he said to Carlson. "It's very sad for America today as American citizens practice their Second Amendment to protect the store and their lives….Do you know what the [responding] police officer told [Abushariah]? 'Why didn't you run out the back door?'"

According to Zuber, he was not able to post the $25,000 bond for his employee, as it was successfully "appealed by the prosecutor." It's always dangerous to be in jail or prison, for whatever reason, and especially so in the age of COVID-19, something that prosecutors might want to consider more soberly.

The Democratic commonwealth's attorney for the county, Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, has previously been a promoter of maximum transparency in policing but so far has only issued a gnomic statement insisting that the police know things they can't tell us yet that more clearly justify the arrest.

She told local news station WJLA ABC7:

"I cannot ethically discuss an ongoing investigation because doing so would not only risk compromising our work but also unfairly impede on the rights of the accused and interfere with the investigation. 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."

Attorney Marina Medvin of Alexandria, a specialist in self-defense law, says in a phone interview today that she doesn't know enough about the specific facts to know how it will likely turn out. Virginia law depends, she points out, on very fact-specific balancing questions about "reasonableness" of force used and whether the danger the user of a weapon in self-defense faced is "extreme" or if his actions prevented "great bodily harm." It would be a mistake to try to predict a cut-and-dried outcome with the facts the police have released, she says.

Regardless, a 2000 Virginia Supreme Court decision in Virginia v. Alexander that Medvin pointed out is likely bad news for Abushariah's defense, as it concludes "a deadly weapon may not be brandished solely in defense of personal property" in Virginia law.

Whether Abushariah can successfully convince a jury his life was reasonably threatened is uncertain, though perhaps prosecutorial discretion should go to a citizen innocently defending his person and property from robbers. Tens of millions of Americans who own guns for the defense of their lives and property may be wondering the same thing.

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    1. Robbing smoke shops?

      1. Thieves will go, as John Dillinger said, wherever the money is. I hope his employer gets this guy a good lawyer.

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  2. Being named “Hamzeh Abushariah” in today’s xenophobic America (Thank You Trumptatorship!) is a de facto crime, when combined with gun ownership or gun use, most especially!

    WHATEVER YOU DO, do NOT name your kid “Hamzeh Abushariah”!!!

    Robbers and thieves with All-American names like “Jimmy Jones” or “Joe Blow” or “Donald Trump” (who Trumps all over us) get a break… Hamzeh Abushariah gets NO breaks at ALL!

      1. Waiting for R Mac to name it’s kid Hamzeh Abushariah… Double-dog dare ya!!!!

        Better yet, R Mac changes its name to Hamzeh Abushariah!!!!

        1. Why don’t you change your username to it, you fucktard.

          1. R Mac changed its name to “Hamzeh Abushariah” and could no longer get air passage to its spiritual home in Hell, to see its parents, so R Mac had to change its name back to R Mac, and now R Mac is allowed on airplanes again! We have equal rights in the USA, here, yes, we do! But don’t forget… Some are more equal than others!

            (People named Hamzeh Abushariah are less equal, if you’ll check on that. We are now under Anti-Abu-Shariah Law, essentially.)

            1. This is a steaming pile of nonsensical shit.

              Oops, now you want to eat your own post.

            2. Squirrelly, not dead yet? That’s too bad.

    1. I think it’s funny that Democrats are blaming Trump for Democrats prosecuting a person with a foreign name…

      1. My first thought is that VA is being run by Democrats. As it turns out, Democrats that abuse women and wear blackface, but still Democrats. So you might want to STFU with the racist chants… this time around, because if that’s the reason as you contend, you indict your fellow Klansmen.

        No, this man’s biggest liability in VA isn’t his name, even with this governor and attorney general. It’s that he had the audacity to defend himself, and do it with a gun.

    2. Yeah. Democratic commonwealths are notorious hotbeds of Islamaphobia, and Democrat AG’s with names like Parisa Dehghani-Tafti are the worst.

      It’s not that a firearm was used in defense of life and property, oh no! Just ask Governor Coonman.

  3. Virginia law depends, she points out, on very fact-specific balancing questions about “reasonableness” of force used and whether the danger the user of a weapon in self-defense faced is “extreme” or if his actions prevented “great bodily harm.”

    And whether the shooter is a peasant or one of the King’s Men. Mostly on whether the shooter is a peasant or one of the King’s Men. In some cases, it would be entirely reasonable to assume that robbers are armed and dangerous and you should open fire if you cannot clearly see that they are not a threat, in other cases one should not open fire unless one can clearly establish that the robbers are in fact a lethal threat. Guess which rule applies to which class of people?

    1. “I saw a weapon and I was in fear of my life.”

      Or you can go for what these assholes are de facto intending you to do, which is ‘shoot, shovel, and shut up.’ Just don’t tell anyone else.

      Fuck Virginia. If their speeding laws weren’t enough.

      1. As soon as I saw this took place in VA, I knew this man’s fate was sealed.

      2. If it’d happened in SW Va. it would have been the sheriff saying, “Hey, Hamzeh, you need to practice your shooting more. You only winged him.”

      3. ” Looked like a gun to me. And then they said they were going to kill me and came my direction. Honest officer, that’s the way I saw it.”

    2. Even if you have no reason to believe they are armed with guns, robberies implicitly threaten use of force. “Give me your stuff, or else…” what exactly? Or else they will use force. Responding to a threat of force with force is logical and moral. As much as I don’t want this innocent man to get dragged through the injustice system, it might be better for him to go all the way to SCOTUS. They’ll probably benchslap these statists for shitting on centuries of common law tradition.

      1. Don’t be misled by the headline (shame on you, Reason!). The body gets it right, though, calling it burglary, not robbery.

        And if his first shot were justified (under law as it stands today, not talking morality) the second one aimed at the fleeing robbers almost certainly was not.

  4. Whether Abushariah can successfully convince a jury his life was reasonably threatened is uncertain

    Facing off against 3 guys who just broke into your store? This doesn’t seem like a big moral quandary to me. The alternative is a dead store clerk and a newly-armed juvenile criminal.

    1. considering also how active the 2nd Ammdt bunch are in VA right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if you have angry gun owners outside the courthouse supporting him.

      1. better yet, half a dozen of them seated onthe jury. Ya think they’ll convict when a man is faced with three people who have just busted a huge window and entered the store at night? Disparity of force, numbers, is justification for the use of lethal force in defense.

        I don’t know Virginia’s laws these days, but in every other state I’ve been in, anyone breaking into an occupied residence or fixed place of business is committing a crime and presenting justification for the introduction of lethal force into the situation. I know in MY state and the two adjacent ones such a break in autmoatically justifies lethal force, when they are THREE who break and enter, add disparity of force and it is certain justification for the use of lethal force.

        But Ah dunno… haffta axe dat ole blackfayce guvnah dey gots deyah.

  5. not a big fan of the prevailing ideology that apparently if someone wants to take your shit but doesn’t physically threaten you, you essentially have to let them.

    1. It was a nice evolution too…. first they got rid of the over-the-top stuff, like shooting a fleeing felon, or walking in on your wife with another man and shooting the guy in a “crime of passion”.

      Then they moved toward preventing confrontation of criminals – they wanted you to phone the police and let them handle it. Then it was “file a report after the fact” and claim it on your insurance. Then the police stopped investigating all but the most serious property crimes. Now we have jurisdictions that are saying they will not arrest or prosecute people who commit property crimes – as long as they say they were just trying to get money for food and shelter. And we’ve criminalized even threatening people who are stealing your stuff?

      Good lord… it really is the frog in the pot of water scenario.

      1. Are we done yet?

        1. We are cooked. But that doesn’t mean they’ll quit turning up the heat.

          1. We are at the “stick a fork in it” stage

            1. If they keep boiling us, we’ll turn into soup and you’ll have to use a spoon.

              1. Keep going longer you’ll have to use a straw… oh wait, they banned those, didn’t they? After all, its for the chilluns.

    2. not a big fan of the prevailing ideology that apparently physical objects are more valued than life, though it seems intellectually consistent for Libertarians

        1. Kindly post your address for those of us who would like some free stuff.

        2. Physical objects are obtained by sacrificing human life. Not even counting the time spent for education and experience acquired over the years, I spent 1200 hours of my life in exchange for a motorcycle. So you are saying if someone wants to take it I should just let them? That defending that physical object is not an extension of protecting my life I exchanged for it?

      1. Somehow morons like you don’t understand that if people aren’t lawfully allowed to defend their stuff and the government won’t do shit, you get an increase in violence.

      2. Every time I see someone post drivel like that, I’ve found that person either doesn’t have anything worth stealing or it has come way too easy and he doesn’t value it. The rest of us give up a piece of our life in hours to obtain property. So when some asshole comes to steal it, he is in fact taking that bit of our life, and it is reasonable to assume that his ill-will would carry on to bigger risks if the need arises.

      3. when you consider that “stuff” is “life” in a different form,, as in, it takes time, skill, labour,sweat, intelligence, diligence, etc, to make and/or get “stuff”, when someone comes along and steals my stuff, they’ve stolen the aspects of life it has taken to get that stuff.
        It is even more obvious when you consider that most dirtbags, like these three, who take someone else’s stuff are no-lifes to start with. They too lazy to expend their own lives to get the stuff they want, so they just take someone else’s life/work to get it.

        What NEEDS to happen is theives need to be sentenced to restitiution…. the biblical formula is if you get caught, you repay FOUR TIMES what you stole/destroyed. If you later change your mind, fess up, and return the stolen goods/money, you only have to repay twice what you stole/destroyed.
        Trouble is, punks like these face NO consequences for their thievery and mayhem, Until that changes, the stealings will continue/

      4. FUCK THAT!
        If some asshole, who thinks it’s OK to take what is yours, doesn’t have the disincentive that he/she might get killed for trying to do so, then you are essentially telling them it is OK to do it.

  6. So… he was under a court order to not possess a gun. And Virginia doesn’t allow you to shoot someone solely to protect property.

    These seem like the questions one should ask before using a gun to defend someone else’s shit.

    1. Or the questions before calling the cops after you’ve used a firearm to defend your shi.

      Not like the thug cares whether he’s a prohibited person or not when he gets and uses a gun.

    2. There’s a great slogan that applies in situations like this:

      “I’d rather be judged by twelve than to be carried by six.”

    3. Laws really shouldn’t exist but if they are gonna exist we should be able to ignore them when it’s convenient I guess is what this website is arguing.

      To be honest there is not much to Libertarianism beyond just defending and justifying disgusting, pure, unalloyed greed and selfishness & reacting impotently to 98% of the American body politic being unenthusiastic or actively hostile to these ideas.

      1. Da, comrade.

      2. Selfishness is a virtue.

    4. with a breake in crew of three, even unarmed, there is an issue of disparity of force which constitutes justification for the use of lethal force in defense. Besides HOW did he KNOW whether they were armed? Or even whether there was not a fourth, outside, who was armed?
      As to the “court order” we don’t know what sort of BS matter that one is.

  7. “a deadly weapon may not be brandished solely in defense of personal property”

    Bullshit. The US Constitution protects our natural right to self defense, and to protect property. No matter what the socialist left say.
    And in Virginia, no less. Maybe the democrats there should spread out the state flag and read it carefully.

    1. New flag coming soon, since the old one threatens authority and makes sensitive people feel frightened or sad. On the plus side, it does show the superiority of women over men.

  8. Under Virginia law, you cannot even brandish a gun in defense of property? What in the ever-loving hell? Who thought that one up.

    I suppose that applies to all deadly weapons, not just handguns…. so coming out with a baseball bat would also be verboten.

    I mean, is it really Virginia law that if someone is stealing my car out in front of my house or workplace, I have to just hide and let them have it, rather than confronting them with a threat of force? That seems absolutely insane, and a clear violation of one’s right to defense of self and property. I don’t see how you can have a state if you are not allowed to own and protect property.

    1. Considering that there’s no guarantee the cops will get my property back, especially if its not something easily trackable like a car, then the road bandits can fuck themselves.

    2. Just act like a cop and jump in front of the car then you can kill with impunity.

    3. I believe it’s worse in Massachusetts– which… if I’m correct is a “duty to flee” state. Making it a wholly immoral situation on a human rights scale.

      1. I will never live in a “Duty to Flee” state… where you have a duty to retreat, even in your own home.
        If the Democrats had their way, they would make the whole US fall under this ridiculous thought process. I do think it is immoral.

        1. That’s because you have a functioning brain. It is immoral.

          Laws like “duty to flee” have already stolen your property and gifted it to anyone who can take it.

    4. stealing your car when you are not in it is one level of crime. Busting in to your house to get the keys so they can drive it away is a horse of a whole nuther colour. These punks broke in, three of them, to an occupied structure. THAT justifies the use of lethal force.

  9. I also enjoyed the statement from the prosecutor that it wouldn’t be fair to the defendant to discuss the case. I

    gnoring the fact that they already discussed the case enough to damn him publicly, has there ever been one of these “I cannot discuss the details” scenarios where it didn’t turn out that the state was full of crap and it was actually worse for their version than you even suspected? It is pretty much a trope at this point – official from police or DA’s office responds to criticism by saying that they have serious evidence that proves they did everything right, but they promise a full investigation…. and then when the details finally come out, they never had any such thing, and they were horribly in the wrong.

    1. It’s rich. Prosecutors and police regularly leak things to the press to vilify defendants, carefully omitting exculpatory evidence, in order to taint both grand juries and regular juries, with stuff that judges won’t allow in court.

  10. Abushariah made two critical mistakes: he left survivors, and (live) bodies. Boy needs to spend more time at the range and get a shovel.

    1. “Shoot until the only side left to tell a story is yours…”

      I don’t like it, but damned if that isn’t the way things are headed.

  11. the [responding] police officer told [Abushariah]? ‘Why didn’t you run out the back door

    …because that’s what I would have done” [the police officer] continued.”

    1. If any police officer asks a question framed in this manner, the only logical answer is, “Lawyer. Now.”

      Unfortunately for this guy, Virginia is no longer a free state.

      1. Yup. He’s going to get reamed for not saying the right magic words at the right time.

  12. It is cases like these that should prevent all of us from ducking jury duty.

    1. Absolutely, and this case could be a potential jury nullification case.
      During voir dire, I always look to put libertarians on my jury.

      1. Obviously you work on the defense side of the house.

  13. Fuck the government and these state thugs.

    Protective orders are unconstitutional since they take away rights without a jury trial and being duly convicted of a crime.

    You people need to serve on juries an acquit these innocent people charged by government thugs.

    I see Virginia is getting Democrat policy good and hard. You get what you vote for. Tell us again how there is not difference between the GOP and the Democrat Party.

    1. seconded.

  14. What part of “you can’t use deadly force merely to protect property” does ‘reason’ fail to understand?

    1. The ‘t part. Remove that and it makes perfect sense.

    2. That is the problem. It’s obvious that the police won’t protect your property… so who’s supposed to do it? I guess you can, as long as you don’t use force. The Democrats probably want you to write a strongly worded letter to the criminals to ask them to stop stealing your stuff. If this happened in Texas or Tennessee, this would be a “yawn”… even if your name was Hamzeh Abushariah. My guess here is the person shot was a MORE protected minority on the intersectionality priority chart…

      1. Or vote with your feet while you still can. LEAVE a stinking state like that. WHY would anyone halfway aware of their state government remain in a SHole like that one, or California, or Maryland, or Massachussetts, or NooYawk, or Connecticut?

    3. What part of, they’re trying to generate (deserved) outrage to help move the IS here closer to the OUGHT, don’t you understand?

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  16. The real reason VA made it illegal to use deadly force to protect personal property is that otherwise, it would have been legal to shoot road bandits and tax collectors.

    But seriously, fuck the cops here. I’m hoping that VA’s 2A crowd still has some fight in them because this is a perfect case to stand up for.

  17. Is it deadly force if they don’t die?

  18. Forget it, Jake. It’s Arlington.

    1. One of the bluest parts of Virginia.

  19. I cannot ethically discuss an ongoing investigation because doing so would not only risk compromising our work but also unfairly impede on the rights of the accused and interfere with the investigation.

    Protect the accused? Yeah, right. They got nothing.

  20. Suffice it to say, there is evidence we are not at liberty to share that support the charges
    “Of course we have evidence. However, it is SECRET evidence that you will find out later once we finish manu- er, collecting it.”

    1. Gonna need more gas for the wood chipper. Or did we switch to biodiesel with a motor change?

  21. Gnomic Statement:

    “Used to describe a tense, the gnomic is considered neutral by not limiting action, in particular, to the past, present, or future. Examples of the gnomic include such generic statements as: “birds fly”; “sugar is sweet”; and “a mother can always tell”.

    Chardonnay wisdom, hierarchy of privilege, where would my vocabulary be without Reason?

  22. “a deadly weapon may not be brandished solely in defense of personal property” in Virginia law.”

    Then you don’t have personal property rights in Virginia.

    1. Virginia is no longer a free state.

      Democrats, like all collectivists, do not believe in the concept of private property, let alone the ideas of individual freedom and responsibility. All of those things are reserved for The State.

  23. I betcha they were black, our governments protected species.

  24. Nulification is needed here.

  25. Patrick Henry was a Virginian, back when people were proud of the name. By referendum initiative it oughtta be easy enough for voters who approve those laws to rename the state Kristallnachtia, or maybe Sovietnya. At least Patrick’s descendants would be relieved of the burden of shame at what the State has lately become.

  26. “The whole good cop/bad cop question can be disposed of much more decisively. We need not enumerate what proportion of cops appears to be good or listen to someone’s anecdote about his Uncle Charlie, an allegedly good cop. We need only consider the following: (1) a cop’s job is to enforce the laws, all of them; (2) many of the laws are manifestly unjust, and some are even cruel and wicked; (3) therefore every cop has agreed to act as an enforcer for laws that are manifestly unjust or even cruel and wicked. There are no good cops.” ~Robert Higgs

  27. Cities all over this country are letting people out of jail because of covid-19, but we damn well better lock up Hamzeh Abushariah for….defending his employer’s store from people robbing it. Ya, HE is the criminal. And honestly, the only thing he reasonably did wrong is that he’s not allowed to possess a gun, I’m assuming he’s a felon, but let’s be honest, that’s a bullshit charge. That’s the kind of charge that gets dismissed or read in when a dealer gets sent to prison. You really holding this dude for unlawfully possessing a gun (that wasn’t his)? Come on.

    And here’s the problem with laws like VA’s, where you can’t use a firearm to defend property, only your life. Dude is woken up by crashing glass in the middle of the night, three robbers in the store, and we’re gonna be like, “Nope, your life wasn’t in danger.” That’s a judgment call at the time and moment, and we should ALWAYS defer to the victim, who has been awakened to a confusing and traumatic experience. You’re damn right he should shoot them if he’s in fear. Or should he wait to be shot first by the gun he can’t see in the dark and the confusion? Also, I know the robbers, or at least one, is a minor. But even so, they know the rules, and breaking in risks you getting popped. They know that, it’s ridiculous for states to act like they don’t.

    1. This experience would be reasonably considered terrifying. Fear of death is a completely reasonable response to having a group of people forcibly smash their way into the place where you are sleeping.

      I’m willing to bet that none of the nannies that voted for laws that try to strip this man of his right to defend himself have ever had a similar experience

  28. If your life isn’t in immediate and eminent danger, and you have options such as fleeing or not exacerbating the situation by an unnecessary confrontation, you are in the wrong. Cops seem to be right on this one. Furthermore, if they are running away from you, if you shoot, you are royally screwed. Most trolls here don’t know jack about handling weapons.

    1. three large people break in violently to an occupied structure in the middle of the night. That right there is justification for the use of lethal force. What, is he supposed to turn on the lights, ask them to let him frisk them for weapons learn they are not armed, then allow them to carry on with their burglary?

      What planet did YOU fall in from? WHO is it don’t know jack about handling weapons?

    2. The second shot when they were fleeing would be a real problem if he hit someone with it. As it is, it’s just reckless discharge.

      The first confrontation was necessary if the legitimate occupant of the space decided it was.

  29. Cop: “Why didn’t you run…”? (instead of shooting).
    Victim: You’re not the only one who has a right to fight crime. Besides, then you could arrest me for “aiding & abetting”. I was paid to protect property rights, same as you. Are you afraid of competition?

  30. Yep, Virginia has been lost to the LEFTISTS. Your entire life can be stolen from you and you have no right to stop someone from doing it. The LIBTARDS in their gated communities and security don’t have to have worry do they.

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