A North Toledo carryout employee was acting in self-defense when he shot a would-be robber multiple times after the man had been incapacitated.
A Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury found Bandar Abu-Karsh not guilty of voluntary manslaughter for the Nov. 21 shooting death of Lamar Allen, who with an accomplice attempted to rob the Express Carryout on Mulberry Street at gunpoint. The jury of eight women and four men deliberated for about two hours before returning a verdict Wednesday.
The verdict means that the jury believed that Mr. Abu-Karsh’s actions were justified.
According to testimony from a total of eight witnesses over two days, including Mr. Abu-Karsh who testified in his own defense, the clerk was working at the Mulberry Street carryout when two masked men with guns entered to commit a robbery. The incident was captured on the store’s 16 surveillance cameras and the recordings played for jurors.
During the incident, which had lasted nearly two minutes, Mr. Abu-Karsh was able to arm himself with the store’s handgun and shoot one of the men in the head. The recorded video then shows him shoot Allen two more times with Allen’s weapon and then exchange gunfire with the accomplice, who ran from the store.
Mr. Abu-Karsh then locked the door, returned to where Allen lay, and shot him an additional 26 times through the back — emptying the bullets from the Tec-9 semiautomatic weapon that Allen had been carrying, the video showed.
During closing arguments to the jury, Assistant County Prosecutor Tim Braun said that although the incident unquestionably began as self-defense in response to fear, it turned into an action of anger.
“The problem we have here is that the first shot was not fatal. Lamar Allen died of multiple gunshot wounds and after you watch the video, you know how those gunshots occurred,” Mr. Braun said Wednesday. “…This isn’t about self-defense. It isn’t about someone reacting to fear. It is about someone reacting to intense anger.”
Attorney John McMahon asked jurors to put themselves in Mr. Abu-Karsh’s place on that November morning and to decide how they would act. He questioned whether they would be rational after just experiencing men with guns threaten their lives.
“After all that, the state wants to impose a duty of rational thought on Bandar at that point. No way. No way,” he said.