Crime & Courts

Police said Obama gas station clerk shot a customer. He won’t be tried

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A clerk at the former Obama gas station on Farrow Road has avoided the courtroom.

A grand jury dismissed charges against Antar Daralhaj, 20, that were related to a June 9 shooting at the gas station, according to his lawyer Larry Marchant.

Daralhaj was charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and possession of a weapon during a violent crime after a customer was shot at the corner store, which was at the time known as the Obama Station. The store’s name has since been changed to the E-Z Spot.

Police alleged that Daralhaj shot the customer in the lower body following a dispute about overcharging for gas.

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According to police, the customer went behind counter, which is enclosed in plexiglass with a side door, and shouted and cursed at Daralhaj about returning money. Police said the clerk shot the customer as he left the store.

Marchant said evidence showed otherwise and that Daralhaj acted in self-defense.

“I have the utmost respect for all the police officers,” Marchant said. “But in this particular case, I felt very strongly that the ultimate outcome of this case was the right outcome. ... This was a clear case of self-defense, and justice was served by dismissing this case.”

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Marchant had a filed what’s known as a “castle doctrine” motion with the court. The castle doctrine motion stems from South Carolina’s Protection of Persons and Property Act, which is similar to statutes commonly called stand-your-ground laws.

The South Carolina law says that a person “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force” within someone’s home, business or vehicle.

Marchant never got to see if the defense would work though, as the grand jury delivered “no bill,” Marchant says. That means the jury didn’t feel the charges should move forward.

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