Local News

Murder Suspect Surrenders

Posted April 13, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— A 16-year-old wanted in the death of a Durham convenience store manager has turned himself in to authorities. Leander Mitchell has been jailed without bond.

Hamood Hezam, 36, was shot in the head April 9 as he worked at the Stop 1 Convenience Mart on Holloway Street. He died several hours later at a hospital.

Police continue to look for a second suspect in the murder and robbery.

Hezam was shot after the robbers re-entered the store and demanded the videotape from a surveillance camera. The camera, however, had no tape in it and was only mounted on the wall as a deterrent. Told the camera was empty, the intruders did not believe the answer, and one fired at Hezam. A second store employee was not physically harmed.

Mitchell, a student at Githens Middle School, faces charges of murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon. He was accompanied by his attorney when he turned himself in at the Durham County magistrate's office.

Hezam came to the U.S. from Yemen. He worked 12- and 16-hour days regularly to send money home to his family. More than 700 people attended his funeral Friday. Hezam was buried at a Raleigh mosque.

On Monday at 5:30 p.m., mourners will gather outside the convenience store for a prayer vigil sponsored by Durham Congregations in Action.