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    Washington man shot teen 7 times after mistakenly suspecting him of planning robbery

    By Amaris Encinas, USA TODAY,

    2024-06-12

    A Washington man charged in the murder of a 17-year-old boy shot the teen at least six times in the back and previously pursued another innocent person in 2022, telling police that he "might have to shoot," according to new details revealed in court documents obtained by USA TODAY on Tuesday.

    Prosecutors charged Aaron Brown Myers, 51, with second-degree murder and assault on Monday stemming from his confrontation of three teenage boys in the Seattle suburb of Renton on June 5. Myers said he thought one of the teens had a "Glock," suspected that the boys were about to rob a Big 5 sporting goods store and that he "had a duty to act to stop the individuals from hurting someone innocent," according to court records.

    The boys actually had airsoft guns and told police they were just taking them back to Big 5.

    Myers, who says he's a licensed security guard, had been in the parking lot conducting what he said was "overwatch," something he does while his 13-year-old son goes to jujitsu class next to the Big 5. He told police he's seen numerous crimes occur there in the past and just wanted to keep his son safe.

    When Myers confronted the teens, he told police they ignored his commands to put their hands up and that he thought that one of them was "going to kill him." Police say surveillance video contradicts much of Myers' story.

    Here’s what we know.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2H4S7V_0toPItDA00
    A closeup look at an airsoft gun and its corresponding ammunition. Sophonnawit Inkaew/Getty Images

    Myers previously followed, threatened to shoot someone

    This isn’t the first time Myers has misperceived a threat to public safety, following a man from store to store in March 2022, telling police he believed the man had a weapon, according to court records.

    Myers called 911 then, reporting that he had seen the man, who was riding a bike, “pointing a gun at people,” court documents say. Myers said he had a concealed pistol and felt that he may have to intervene, saying he "might have to shoot the person," court records say.

    Officers who responded to the scene found that the man was unarmed and that an object Myers thought was a gun was really a “silver metal object" that may have been a bicycle part.

    Myers created his own Spokane-based security guard company, Midnight Sun Operations LLC, a year later, according to reporting by The Seattle Times.

    Myers' held on bail, with prosecutors warning he poses a threat

    Myers bail was set at $2 million after King County prosecutors argued that Myers could commit another "violent offense in the future.” The 2022 incident only proves that the Myers’ “self-imposed duty to intervene” is part of his regular approach to interacting with the public, senior deputy prosecuting attorney Lauren Burke wrote in a charging document obtained by USA TODAY.

    “(Myers) attacked three teenagers who had not committed any crime and at every stage of the interaction chose to escalate with more and more violence until it culminated in the defendant taking the life" of 17-year-old Hazrat Ali Rohani, Burke wrote.

    Only a high bail, electronic home detention, and surrender of all firearms will protect the community from an untrained civilian who believes he has a duty to shoot people who have not hurt anyone, Burke said.

    Teen calls for his mom before crumpling to the ground

    Hazrat Ali Rohani and two friends were making their way toward the Big 5 Sporting when Myers approached them with a gun in hand. One of the friends set his airsoft pistol on the sidewalk and showed Myers his hands, according to surveillance footage of the interaction described by police in court documents.

    Myers pushes one of the boys to the ground, straddles him and holds him in place as he points the gun at Hazrat. Hazrat, who had an airsoft gun in his pocket, also shows Myers his hands, the footage shows.

    Hazrat begins to turn away from Myers, briefly lowering one of his raised arms in the direction of his waistband, at which point Myers opens fire, shooting the boy seven times, hitting him "once in the side and at least six times in the back," Burke wrote in the charging document.

    A King County sheriff’s deputy in the area at the time witnessed the shooting, Burke wrote, though it was unclear why she didn't intervene. It was also unclear if she or her partner were the ones to arrest Myers.

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=47Htq3_0toPItDA00
    A Big 5 Sporting Goods store is pictured in Los Angeles. CHRIS DELMAS/AFP

    The two surviving teens told police that they had gone to the store to return or exchange Hazrat's airsoft gun because he was having some issues with it, according to the police report. One of the other boys had his own airsoft gun with him and brought it along so employees could check out a "magazine issue" he was having.

    Both friends said they told Myers repeatedly that the guns weren't real but that before they knew it, their friend had been shot. One of the friends said that when Hazrat hit the ground, he called out for his mom before dying, Burke wrote.

    ‘Only intent’ was to protect himself, others from danger, Myers says

    Myers and his family said they were “devastated” by the series of events that led up to tragedy and that it “resulted in the loss of a young man’s life,” according to a statement from his attorneys.

    “Mr. Myers sincerely believed that he was witnessing the beginning of an armed robbery when he observed three young men pass his truck on their way into a store that was adjacent to the location where his son was attending a martial arts class,” the statement reads.

    Myers, a “professional security consultant,” got involved in the hopes of stopping a robbery before anyone got hurt.  Myers echoes a similar sentiment made to police during the interview, telling them that he was “in fear for his own life and fired his duty weapon to defend himself.” He also said he didn't have time to call 911 and "had a duty to act to stop the individuals from hurting someone innocent," Burke wrote.

    “We are confident that over the course of this investigation the evidence will show that Mr. Myers’ only intent that day was to protect himself and others from serious harm or death,” according to the statement.

    Myers is set for an arraignment on June 24.

    This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Washington man shot teen 7 times after mistakenly suspecting him of planning robbery

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