Accused gunman in store owner's death: 'I didn't mean to shoot him'

  • Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 12:30 p.m.
    UPDATED: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 1:04 p.m.
Christopher Watson talks to a Post reporter outside the Rowan County Magistrate's office on Tuesday. Photo by Nathan Hardin/Salisbury Post.
Christopher Watson talks to a Post reporter outside the Rowan County Magistrate's office on Tuesday. Photo by Nathan Hardin/Salisbury Post.

SALISBURY — Three men charged with killing a store owner last week were charged again today in two robberies on West Horah Street.

Salisbury Police initially charged the group, beginning with Kevin Canzator and Maurice Robinson, who have been accused of leaving the Mooresville Road store just seconds before Christopher Watson allegedly entered and shot Hecham Abualeinan.

“I'm sorry,” Watson said, his voice cracking through sobs on his way into the Magistrate's Office Tuesday morning.

After receiving two more charges of felony robbery with a dangerous weapon, Detective Aaron Safrit escorted the emotional 23-year-old Watson back to an unmarked police car.

“I was protecting my family. I didn't mean to shoot him,” Watson croaked.

Once inside the car, Watson leaned his head back against the headrest looking toward the ceiling, crying uncontrollably.

Authorities have expected to charge the group in the two robberies at Neighborhood Market, a store on West Horah Street.

Sultan Qasem, the owner, told the Post last week he recognized 20-year-old Canzator as a man who pretended to be a customer during one of his two robberies.

The store was robbed once in November and again in early December.

A search warrant obtained by the Post said Canzator and Robinson admitted to going to the Z&H Mart on Mooresville Road with a plan to rob it on Dec. 10. Watson also confessed to authorities that he shot and killed Abualeinan, the warrant said.

Canzator and Robinson entered the store about 9:30 p.m. and bought candy from Abualeinan, the report shows. Warrants show Watson entered the store 11 seconds later with a gun.

After shooting the store owner, the warrant said, Watson walked around the 59-year-old and emptied the cash register.

All three remained in jail Tuesday under no bond.

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