Lauderhill store clerk paralyzed following shooting, family says
LAUDERHILL, Aug 03, 2012 (Sun Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Ramzi Foqahaa's family didn't want him living in Palestine because of the violence back home.
So when he turned 13, they helped him immigrate to Miramar where he has been living with his extended family ever since.
On Tuesday, Foqahaa, now 21, was sweeping behind the counter at the U-Save convenience store where he works in Lauderhill when a gunman rushed in and opened fire.
Foqahaa, shot twice over an apparent argument with a regular customer, remained paralyzed and in serious condition at Broward General Medical Center on Friday, said his brother Aysar Fuqaha.
"We brought him because of all the problems in Palestine, and he gets shot here," Fuqaha said on Friday. "There is something really wrong in this world. This violence has to end."
Lauderhill police were still searching Friday for the heavyset man who shot Foqahaa several times on Tuesday after a violent encounter caught on video surveillance.
Fuqaha said Friday his younger sibling was able to speak but was still having difficulty breathing after a bullet damaged about 25 percent of one of his lungs. His family and his girlfriend have been maintaining a constant vigil at the hospital.
"We thought he would be improving today, but he's still not well at all," the brother said.
The shooting took place about 10 p.m. Tuesday at the busy store located at 4039 NW 19th Street. Surveillance video shows a man entering the store and removing a gallon of juice from one of the coolers. The man later appears to skip several people who were standing in line.
When Foqahaa told him to get back in line, the video shows the two men begin to argue.
Shouting in a heavy Jamaican accent, the man is heard cursing at Foqahaa.
"Watch your mouth. Watch your mouth," Foqahaa repeatedly tells the man.
At one point during the confrontation, the customer tries to slap Foqahaa in the face. The video shows Foqahaa picking up a baseball bat and ordering the man to leave. When the man continues shouting obscenities, Foqahaa throws what appears to be a glass bottle at him.
Exactly 13 minutes later, the shooting suspect goes into the store, this time with a dark shirt lifted over his head. Foqahaa is shot twice and collapses.
Omar Mustafa, one of the store's managers, said Friday he believes the suspect is a regular at the store and that other customers have indicated they recognize him also.
"This needs to get solved right away. Everyone knows this guy, everything about him," Mustafa said, while attending customers at the store. "Ramzi got shot for nothing, for nothing."
Police on Friday said they were still trying to located the gunman and taking statements from other witnesses. An arrest had not been announced as of late Friday.
Authorities urge anyone with information on the suspect or shooting to contact Lauderhill Detective Brian Hardy at 954-497-4700 or Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.
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