Local News

Four charged in Pitt County convenience store deaths

Posted April 4, 2012 11:10 a.m. EDT
Updated April 5, 2012 6:26 a.m. EDT

— Investigators have arrested four people in a fatal triple shooting at a convenience store over the weekend, Pitt County Sheriff Neil Elks said Wednesday.

Elks called the suspects "cold-blooded killers" and, according to court documents, at least three of them have criminal records. 

Mokbel Mohamed "Sam" Almujanhi, 16, Nabil Nasser Saeed Al'mogannahi, 26, and Gaber Alawi, 24, were found dead Sunday night inside the Hustle Mart, at the corner of Stantonsburg Road and N.C. Highway 121, in Farmville.

A customer who arrived at the store around 10 p.m. found the three bodies behind the counter.

Antwan Andre Anthony, 29, Xavier Montel Shamble, 19, and a juvenile were arrested Tuesday night. Willie Whitehead, 23, was charged Wednesday afternoon.

"My guys have been very motivated, very determined and have been running on adrenaline for three days," Elks said. "This is a victory for us. We're very pleased, very proud, that we've got these guys in custody."

The four face multiple charges, including three counts each of murder, first-degree kidnapping, robbery with a dangerous weapon and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery.

Anthony is also charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a felon and one count of possession of stolen goods. Shamble also faces one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.

According to the state Division of Adult Correction, Shamble was released from prison March 12 after serving five months of an eight-month sentence on two charges, one of them, carrying a concealed weapon.

Whitehead was released from prison in August after serving 18 months for larceny and had been in prison multiple times prior to that on convictions of breaking and entering, robbery and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Anthony had moved to North Carolina from Connecticut and was on probation for assault charges from 2002, records show.

Authorities say Almujanhi's father owned the store and that Al'mogannahi and Alawi were family members who had recently moved from New York to help with the business.

Almujanhi had been mopping the floor at the time of the attack, authorities said.

"The investigation and the video showed us this was a very tragic, appalling, unimaginable murder – senseless murder,' Elks said.

Surveillance photos released Monday of three men with guns inside the store were instrumental in solving the case, Capt. Paula Dance, with the sheriff's office, said.

"We put that video out there, and this community really pulled together," she said.

By Tuesday, detectives had received more than 100 tips – the most ever received for a single crime. Several led to the arrests.

Tony Muhssen, a cousin of the victims, said Wednesday that his family is grateful that arrests have been made.

"We are still trying to recover from all this, but it is a relief to everyone," Muhssen said. "We are so proud of our law enforcement."

"It is just great that these guys are off the street, because our streets and our community is a lot safer without them."