Local News

Two charged in shooting death of store clerk

Posted August 31, 2008 11:04 a.m. EDT
Updated August 31, 2008 3:26 p.m. EDT

— Sheriff's deputies arrested a man and were searching for a another suspect Sunday in the shooting death of a convenience store clerk this weekend.

Demarius Antoine Benson, 19, of Eastway Drive, has been arrested for the murder of Sadaq Ali Mohommed Ashmli, 31, of Henderson, during a robbery of the Williamsboro Grocery at a Shell gas station, 7690 N.C. Highway 39 North, on Friday night.

Sheriff Peter White said that Benson also shot at another person in the store. That person was not injured.

Deputies are searching for a second suspect, Saadi Williams, 20, of Henderson. He was described as a 20-year-old black man with a slender build.

Benson faces charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. He was being held in the Vance County Jail without bond Sunday morning.

White could not say if Benson was the man taken in for questioning as a person of interest. Deputies detained that man when he drove up Williamsboro Grocery as White was talking to Ashmil's family members Saturday afternoon.

Investigators are also trying to identify and locate a woman shown in surveillance images shortly before the shooting. Authorities believe that she may be a witness.

Ashmli exchanged gunfire with at least one of the suspects during the robbery, White said. Ashmli was shot once.

“When you work at a convenience store, it’s really a chance of your life these days,” said Joe Davis, an employee at the Stop and Shop across the street from the Williamsboro Grocery.

Family and friends described Ashmli as a “true family man.” He was working at the family-owned store to support his wife and their 3-year-old and 1-year-old children.

Benson and Williams have both served time in prison for common-law robberies committed in Vance County, according to state Department of Correction records.

Benson was released on March 22, 2008, after serving 13 months for robberies in June 2005 and January 2006.

Between 2006 and 2007, Williams served 8 1/2 months in prison for a robbery in April 2006.

Anyone with about Williams' whereabouts or the shooting was asked to call Henderson-Vance Crime Stoppers at 252-492-1925 or the Vance County Sheriff’s Office at 252-738-2200.