Tennessee store clerk found guilty of fatally shooting black teen over stolen beer

Tennessee store clerk found guilty of fatally shooting black teen over stolen beer

A Tennessee store clerk has been convicted of second-degree murder in connection with the fatal shooting of an African American teenager who had stolen a beer from his shop.

Anwar Ghazali was found guilty last week of fatally shooting Dorian Harris, 17, in March 2018 after Harris left a corner store without paying for at least one beer, according to the Shelby County District Attorney's Office.

ADVERTISEMENT

The district attorney's office said Ghazali had pulled out a handgun after Harris left the Top Stop Shop in Memphis. Ghazali chased Harris before firing several shots in his direction, according to authorities.

Upon returning to the store, Ghazali said to a witness, “I think I shot him," according to the DA's office. Ghazali never called the police, the DA's office said.

Harris's body was found two days later, with a gunshot wound in the back of his left thigh, in a backyard near the store, the DA said.

NBC News, citing an affidavit, reported that Ghazali was arrested after the body was found and admitted to shooting at the teen. He was reportedly booked on first-degree murder charges.

Ghazali was convicted of second-degree murder on Thursday following a four-day trial. The Shelby County DA office said his sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 23.

Beverly Loverson, who said she was at the store the night of the incident, testified during the trial that Harris grabbed two "coolers" before dropping one as he left, local NBC affiliate WMC 5 reported.

She testified that Ghazali followed Harris out of the store, armed with a gun.

"As he passed me, I said, 'Don't kill him. Don't kill him. It's just a beer,'" she testified. She added that she heard him when he returned to the store that he may have shot the teen. Loverson said she did not call the police.

“I wish I had, it could have saved his life,” she said.

"Memphis is a community that is struggling with many things," Ghazali's attorney, Blake Ballin, told NBC News in a statement. "Racial and economic inequality plague us daily. I understand why this case has caused public frustration because another African American kid has been needlessly killed. But decisions of guilt and innocence and questions of intent should not be based on emotion."