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Gas station clerk may claim self-defense after firing AK-47 through safety glass, killing man

Posted at 5:45 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 18:02:32-04

DETROIT (WXYZ)  — "I don't see how you feel threatened, but you're the one with the gun and behind protective glass," said Minister Freedom Allah of The People's Action when talking about the 18-year-old gas station clerk who may be preparing to claim self-defense in the shooting death of 30-year-old Joshua Lewis.

RELATED: Gas station clerk shoots through safety glass, kills man allegedly stealing from coin machine

On the night of Oct. 12, prosecutors say the clerk, Mohamed Hizam of Hamtramck, saw Lewis breaking the glass of a Coin Pusher game of chance machine with a hammer.

Hizam was behind the safety glass when police say he picked up an AK-47 and fired through that protective barrier and killed Lewis.

Hizam was arraigned Wednesday on charges that include second-degree murder, manslaughter, and felony firearm.

There were issues with the court's video of the arraignment and it could not be viewed until Thursday.

When he spoke to the magistrate about bond, Hizam's defense attorney, Doraid Elder, said his client was not a threat to society.

"Your honor, this is a case where I watched the video," Elder said. "This is an individual that came in his place of employment with a hammer and with a screwdriver. Judge, there were some words exchanged where my client... felt threatened, judge, and, unfortunately, we're here today."

Two days after Lewis was killed, Detroit Police Chief James Craig called the deadly shooting "unthinkable."

"We're talking about a property crime," said Craig about the allegation that Lewis was stealing from the quarter coin machine.

Magistrate Jeffrey Kleparek set Hizam's bond at $500,000 cash or surety.

"Mr. Hizam, you are not to leave the state of Michigan without permission of the court," Kleparek told Hizam during his arraignment. "You are not to purchase or possess a firearm or any other dangerous weapon. And if you're able to make bond, given the concerns the court has placed on the record, you are to be fit with a GPS tether."

Action News reached out to the family of Joshua Lewis. His parents said Hizam can cry self-defense if he wants. They said the store surveillance video will tell the whole story.