Local News

Durham clerk says customer shooting was in self-defense

Posted May 11, 2012 4:23 p.m. EDT
Updated May 11, 2012 6:24 p.m. EDT

— 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.

"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."