Memphis store clerk who shot and killed a black teen over $2 beer sentenced to 22 years

Mohammed Awal Nov 4, 2019 at 09:30am

November 04, 2019 at 09:30 am | Crime News, News

Mohammed Awal

Mohammed Awal

November 04, 2019 at 09:30 am | Crime News, News

Anwar Ghazali (left) was convicted in August for the murder of 17-year-old Dorian Harris. (Photos: The Black Detour)

A former Tennessee convenience store employee who shot and killed a fleeing black teen has been sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Anwar Ghazali fatally shot and killed 17-year-old Dorian Harris for shoplifting a $2 can of beer on March 30, 2018.

Ghazali, 29, was found guilty of second-degree murder by a jury on August 15 in Shelby County criminal court.

Second-degree murder is punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison in Tennessee.

The shooting

Surveillance footage showed Harris entering the store on the day he was shot and killed. While in the store he headed straight for a cooler and grabbed a beer, leaving seconds later. 

Ghazali saw the teenager exiting the store when he raised his head. The Surveillance footage showed him briefly looking for Harris before giving him a chase armed.

Ghazali fired several shots during the pursuit one of which cut Harris’ femoral artery causing him to bleed out as he fled.   

Ghazali calmly returned to the store after firing his gun and continued engaging customers without alerting the police, prosecutors said.

“The defendant took it upon himself to be the judge, the jury and the executioner over a $2 [drink]. That’s why we’re here,” state prosecutor Lora Fowler said at Ghazali’s trial earlier this year. “Why are you using deadly force to defend a [drink]?”

No intention to kill

Meanwhile, Ghazali’s defence said he never intended to kill Harris as he fled the store in North Memphis after pilfering the can of beer.

According to them, rather Ghazali fired a weapon upward into the night air as Harris ran away and that the rounds fired were meant to be warning shots.

Ghazali, according to his defence, was standing 77 feet from Harris when he started to chase after him — a distance that proved he could not have intended to strike the teen.

“That’s like Steph Curry standing on the other side of the court, and knowing that he’ll make a shot at a 94-foot distance. Even Steph Curry can’t guarantee that,” said criminal defence attorney Blake Ballin.

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