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Murder on Mooresville Rd.

(Editor’s note: This editorial has been updated from the initially published version to reflect arrests in the case.)

A brutal slaying in the commission of a crime is always horrifying, but the shock waves seem amplified when it occurs during the holiday season.
Wailing sirens drown out Christmas songs. Instead of spreading peace and goodwill, we find ourselves looking deep into the abyss of evil and predation. Instead of celebrating the holidays, loved ones struggle numbly through minutes and hours, talking with investigators and planning a funeral.
When it happens in our own community, as it did Monday evening at a convenience store on Mooresville Road, a few miles west of Salisbury, the repercussions hit even harder.
Police say Hecham Abualeinan, owner of the Z&H Mart on Mooresville Road, was shot in the head during an apparent robbery about 9:30 p.m. Monday. Family members, who live in the back of the cinderblock building, heard a commotion and found him lying on the floor, mortally wounded.
Recent headlines have relayed other sad stories A 14-year-old China Grove boy was killed in a car crash, and over the Thanksgiving holiday, another child died when an ATV overturned. But those deaths were different. They were accidents.
Hecham Abualeinan’s death was no accident. Like the slaying two years ago of Deyanira Rios de la Cruz as the young woman worked at a Spencer convenience store, this was a cold-blooded killing apparently perpetrated for a handful of cash. This heinous transation took the life of a man whom customers described as invariably friendly and polite, saying hello when they walked in the door and offering a soft-spoken “thank you” as they left with their purchases. But it’s not just individual lives that are torn apart by such crimes, as deep as the personal losses may be. Inevitably, they also rob communities of their sense of stability, safety and well-being.
Early Wednesday, three men were arrested and charged in the case. Credit the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, Salisbury police and State Bureau of Investigation officers with swift work in identifying and apprehending these suspects. Justice is no substitute for stolen joy or a lost loved one, but it’s what we’re left to pursue for a victim who didn’t deserve such a terrible fate, in this season or any other.

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