‘I was afraid for my life,’ clerk testifies at robbery/murder trial
SAN DIEGO — A clerk who was on duty at a Clairemont convenience store when a customer was killed during a robbery took the stand trial in the trial of the alleged shooter and said he thought he was also going to be shot.
Jose Aguilar was the first witness called in the trial of Ahmed Hassan Mumin, 34, who is charged with murder, robbery, burglary, and being a felon in possession of a firearm in connection with the April 16, 2015, death of 48- year-old Eric Schade.
If jurors convict Mumin of those charges and find true a special circumstance allegation that the killing happened during the course of a robbery, he would faces life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
He’s additionally charged with two counts of attempted murder on a peace officer for allegedly opening fire on two officers trying to take him into custody at a City Heights apartment two days after the murder.
Aguilar testified he was on duty around 3:45 a.m. on April 16, 2015, at an Arco am/pm store on Balboa Avenue when Munim entered “in an aggressive manner” and demanded cash.
“I was afraid for my life,” the witness said.
Jurors viewed video footage showing Schade entering the store and asking Aguilar to borrow a lighter. After a brief discussion, both men look to their left, and a man, who police and prosecutors identified as Mumin, enters the store holding a silver gun and demands cash.
The store clerk testified the robber was wearing a dark beanie and had a bandana covering his face.
“Everybody on the floor right now,” he yells at Aguilar and Schade. “Don’t move, mother (expletive).”
The video shows Schade gesturing at the suspect, who fires the gun, and the victim crumpling to the ground.
The clerk put the cash drawer on the counter after the robber demanded money. But Schade — a neighborhood regular — took a swipe at the suspect’s gun as if to push it out of his face, and Mumin took a step back and shot the victim once in the chest, prosecutors allege.
The footage shows the shooter rifling through the cash drawer, then fleeing with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Aguilar testified that he immediately dialed 911. In an audiotape of his call that was played for the jury, Aguilar tells dispatchers that Schade is on the ground and still breathing, but “he’s bleeding bad.”
During cross-examination by defense attorney Sloan Ostbye, Aguilar said he was not asked to identify Mumin in a police line-up.
Aguilar also said that at 11 p.m. on April 15, 2015, Schade purchased a 24-ounce can of beer and that during other occasions when Schade was in the store, he appeared to be intoxicated.
Several San Diego police officers who were called to the scene after the shooting also testified. Officer Michael Wasco said that he rode in the ambulance with Schade, who was unresponsive, to Sharp Memorial Hospital. Doctors declared Schade dead one hour later, Wasco said.
Two days later, officers tracked Mumin to an apartment complex on Winona Avenue in City Heights. Police officers testified that Mumin hid behind a set of doors in a community room, and as a detective tried one of the doors, the defendant opened fire from behind another door, prompting them to return fire.
Mumin was shot in the abdomen by police and hospitalized.
In her opening statement, prosecutor Kristie Nikoletich told jurors the 34-year-old defendant’s trial would wrap up quickly.
“I will ask you all to return the only verdict that justice demands– a guilty verdict,” she said.
Mumin’s attorney did not make an opening statement.
Co-defendant Adan Ibrahim — the alleged getaway driver — was previously charged with murder, but that count was dismissed earlier this year by San Diego County Superior Court Judge Kenneth K. So through application of the state’s new felony murder rule. He still faces trial on robbery charges.
Ibrahim’s girlfriend, Kristine Mariano, was in the getaway car during the robbery, according to prosecutors. She pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact earlier this year and awaits sentencing.