Local News

Durham clerk says customer shooting was in self-defense

Posted May 11, 2012

— A Durham store clerk who shot a customer in the leg last week said Friday that he was only protecting himself after the customer threatened to kill him.

Alaael Ahmed El-Hamalawi, 52, said the man, whom police identified as John Reid Jr., walked into the University Market on West Chapel Hill Street, on April 30, yelling that he had a knife and was going to kill El-Hamalawi.

El-Hamalawi said Reid also struck him on the hand and broke a window with an electric drill that he had been swinging.

"If I (had not) ducked, he would have killed me that day," El-Hamalawi said.

He said he tried to push Reid out of the store, and then he got a gun, warned him and then shot him in the leg.

Police arrested both men – El-Hamalawi on charges of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and discharging a firearm in the city limits and Reid, 55, on charges of communicating threats and injury to property.

Durham clerk justifies customer shooting Durham clerk justifies customer shooting

"I did nothing wrong. I did the right thing," said El-Hamalawi, who has worked at the convenience store for 15 years. "I'm not guilty. If somebody tries to take your life, you need to protect yourself."

El-Hamalawi said that he has had issues with Reid in the past and has called police several times after Reid allegedly tried to steal from the store.

Durham police would not comment Friday, since the case is pending.

Reid, who was treated and released from a local hospital, couldn't be reached either.

El-Hamalawi is out of jail on a $75,000 bond.

"I know I'm right and that this will end up being cleared in the court system," he said. "So, when I go to court, I'll be free."


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  • TeenDad2electricboogaloo May 17, 2012

    Dude is lucky it was in the leg, I probably wouldnt have been so generous. Well done Mr. El-Hamalawi.

  • willis2 May 14, 2012

    Shoot a man in the leg in self defense and get $75K bail; felony hit and run resulting in death gets $25K bail.

    Yeah, that seems right.

  • beachlvr0804 May 11, 2012

    Redleader2base......great post!

  • beachlvr0804 May 11, 2012

    Piene2.......you really need to take the blinders off. Only shop in stores that don't allow guns? Boy, would you be surprised to know just who is 'carrying' when you enter a store.......any store!

  • cuzin244 May 11, 2012

    @ pIENE2,
    I really believe many livingtoday should have been born in the 19'th century. Then you needed a gun to walk down the stree. And in addition you'd had been pretty good wielding the thing. I surely belonged there.l

  • Redleader2base May 11, 2012

    He shot him in the leg. Isn't that usually what most of you anti-gun proponents advocate? Just how much more restraint do you expect him to show? You ever saw what a good drill with the right bit can do to wood or steel, let alone flesh? Maybe you should only shop at stores that ban all power tools. Better yet, why not make it easy and shop at stores that ban robbery....... Oh wait, nevermind.

  • FragmentFour May 11, 2012

    With any luck, Reid will turn out to have a wound that will bug him for the rest of his life. However, being charged and then having those charges proven untrue may provide
    El-Hamalawi with protection in case Reid tries to sue.

  • westernwake1 May 11, 2012

    Welcome to Durham - where the justice system just can't get it right.

    Sounds like Mr. El-Hamalawi was properly defending himself. Do the police in Durham know that North Carolina now has a Castle law stating you are allowed to defend your home or business with deadly force.

  • dplowman May 11, 2012

    If somebody comes at you and tells you they are going to KILL you
    you have every right to defend yourself. The people who rob stores need to be shot but not in the leg, If you shoot them shoot until you run out of ammo. And by the way the castle doctrine gives you the right to defend yourself or anyone else that you think cannot fight for their life or defend them self from rape. Get a grip Durham (firing a gun in the city limits) what a joke.

  • Freedom Hound May 11, 2012

    @jprime- that is not accurate. If you feel you are in imminent danger of harm or life, you can use deadly force. The castle law applies no matter where you are. If the man walked in and robbed the clerk with a weapon, he then is justified in using deadly force.