Abdullah Muflahi owns Triple S Food Mart, the convenience store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Alton Sterling was fatally shot by police early Tuesday morning.
Muflahi told reporters he saw the shooting and has described the scene for various news outlets.
Here’s what you need to know about him.
1. Muflahi Recorded Video of the Shooting on a Cell Phone
Muflahi provided a 38-second video to The Daily Beast, which posted the clip Wednesday afternoon.
The video, recorded by Muflahi in front of his store at 2112 N. Foster Drive in Baton Rouge, shows Sterling pinned on the ground by two police officers. One of the officers yells, “He’s got a gun!” He then tells Sterling, “If you f—ing move, I swear to God!” Next, one of the officers can be heard saying what appears to be, “He’s going for the gun!”
Two shots are heard. The camera pans away and one officer yells, “Get on the ground!” Two more shots follow. An officer then calls in the shooting on the radio as one yells an expletive.
An officer can then be seen taking what appears to be a gun from Sterling’s pocket. Sterling, who was later pronounced dead at the scene, is still moving after the shooting.
Baton Rouge Coroner William “Beau” Clark told Heavy.com in an interview Wednesday that Sterling died from being shot multiple times in the back and chest.
A video released Tuesday shows police slamming Sterling into a car and down to the ground, but much of the action is blocked by the car:
2. Sterling Sold CDs in Front of Muflahi’s Store
Muflahi told CNN that he has known Sterling for six years and let him sell CDs in front of his store. Local newspaper The Advocate reported that the CDs contained everything from music to movies, and that Sterling would lay them out on a table outside the store.
Sterling was a registered sex offender, according to state records, and he had been convicted of aggravated battery, criminal damage to property, unauthorized entry and domestic abuse battery, possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute and illegally carrying a weapon with a controlled dangerous substance, The Advocate reported. However, in a video posted on Facebook Wednesday afternoon by Ariana Triggs, who describes herself as a small business owner, freelance photographer and graphic designer, Muflahi said that he had never known Sterling to be violent.
“I’ve never seen him get into a fight with anybody or anything at all,” Muflahi said in the video. “He’s really friendly. A lot of people know him. A lot of people respect him.”
Watch Triggs’ Facebook video here:
3. Muflahi Said He Didn’t See Sterling Get Into a Confrontation With Anyone
Two Baton Rouge Police officers, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II, responded to a disturbance from someone who said a man selling CDs and wearing a red shirt threatened him with a gun, according to a statement by police spokesman Corp. L’Jean Mckeenly Jr.
Muflahi told CNN that he didn’t see an altercation, nor was he aware of any incident that would have prompted anyone to call police.
“Just five minutes before, he walked into the store getting something to drink, joking around, (and we were) calling each other names,” CNN quoted Muflahi as saying.
Muflahi told The Advocate that he walked outside around midnight and saw two police officers trying to pin Sterling to a car parked in a handicapped spot.
“When I walked out, they was here, trying to slam him — or they slammed him on the car that was here — a silver Toyota that was out here,” he said in the Facebook video.
Salamoni and Lake have both been placed on administrative leave while the shooting is under investigation. Local authorities asked the FBI to take the lead in the investigation.
4. Muflahi Called the Police Officers ‘Aggressive’
“They were aggressive with him from the start,” The Advocate quoted Muflahi as saying.
He told CNN that the officers told Sterling not to move while Sterling asked them what he did wrong.
Next, Muflahi told CNN and The Advocate, that officers used a stun gun on Sterling and tackled him. Both officers pinned him to the ground. Then, one of the officers yelled “gun,” and shots were fired.
Clark, the coroner, told Heavy.com in an interview Wednesday that Sterling died from being shot multiple times in the back and chest. Although Clark would not say exactly how many times Sterling was shot, he confirmed that Sterling had entrance wounds on both his back and chest.
“His hand was nowhere (near) his pocket,” The Advocate quoted Muflahi as saying.
He also told The Advocate that Sterling had recently started carrying a gun after a friend was mugged.
5. People Have Protested Sterling’s Death at Muflahi’s Store
Residents blocked the intersection near Triple S Food Mart Tuesday night, according to reporters at the scene:
USA Today reported that demonstrators protested on and off throughout Tuesday and into Wednesday, chanting “hands up, don’t shoot” and “black lives matter.”
In the Facebook video, people can be seen crowding the store and horns can be heard blaring.
“By dawn Wednesday, protesters and friends had created a makeshift memorial to Sterling on the white folding tables and a fold-out chair he had used to sell homemade music compilations on CDs,” the USA Today story states.
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