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TMCNet:  Fatal shooting followed attempt to stop theft of cookies

[January 04, 2013]

Fatal shooting followed attempt to stop theft of cookies

ST. LOUIS, Jan 04, 2013 (St. Louis Post-Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The boyfriend of a woman who allegedly shoplifted a bag of Chips Ahoy! from a shop in Dutchtown shot and killed one man who tried to stop her and wounded another, authorities and the store's owner said Friday.


Kenneth Payne, 33, of the 3400 block of Montana Street, was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault and armed criminal action, and held without bail.

The attack occurred about 7 p.m. Thursday outside Sam's Beauty Queen supply and convenience store at 3956 South Grand Boulevard.

Anan Abdallah, 22, a Palestinian from Jerusalem, Israel, died from a gunshot wound to his chest, according to the store owner and friends. Police said they had not positively identified the victim, whose relatives live overseas.

Abdallah was a friend of the owner and often visited the business. A clerk, 30, was shot in the hand and abdomen and was recovering at hospital. He is expected to survive.

Sam Samara, 49, of Hazelwood, who has run the shop for about six months, said Abdallah and the clerk tried to stop a woman who stuffed the bag of cookies into her jacket. Samara said they were confronting the woman and Payne on the sidewalk in front of the store when Payne pulled out a handgun and fired.

Police said the woman is Payne's girlfriend. She was arrested but not charged by late Friday.

Video from a store camera shows a shoving match spill out the front door onto the sidewalk. The clerk can be seen fleeing after being shot, and Abdallah retreats and collapses on the sidewalk.

Sam Sabri, who runs cellphone shop inside a Conoco station down the block, said he heard the shots and tried to help. "I knew he was dying," said Sabri, 47, of St. Louis. "His soul was leaving his body. He was breathing his own blood. It was a dreadful scene." Samara said police told him they found Payne's ID card on the sidewalk in front of a business next door. "I think that's a blessing from God," he said.

The shop, on the ground floor of an apartment building, had been moved from across the street after Samara bought it. He described a growing problem with drug users and prostitutes in the old building.

He said Abdallah often helped out at the store and gave business advice.

Samara said shoplifters are a constant problem but he had instructed Slemian never to chase one, because it's dangerous. "I can get back whatever they steal, but don't lose your life over it," Samara said. "I think (Abdallah) just overreacted," he said, and the clerk followed him.

Samara said he is closing the shop while the clerk is in the hospital.

Sufan Salama, 31, who runs the Sultan Palace Bakery & Cafe, at Grand Boulevard and Meramec Street, said he knew Abdallah from childhood but they grew apart. Angered at the attack, Salama said, "Someone like this doesn't deserve to live. He tried to kill two people in a second. That's not human." Samara said members of the Dar-Aljalal mosque in Hazelwood have raised money to help Abdallah's family with funeral expenses.

As Samara left his shop Friday afternoon, he spotted Abdallah's knit cap on the pavement at the foot of a nearby doorway. He grabbed it and took it with him.

___ (c)2013 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at www.stltoday.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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