Stowe Township restaurant owner arrested after shooting teen stealing tip jar, police say

STOWE TOWNSHIP, Pa. — An Allegheny County business owner is facing charges after police say he shot a teenager Saturday night.

The Allegheny County Police Department said it was notified of a shots fired incident on Broadway Avenue in Stowe Township around 10 p.m. Saturday. A second 911 call informed police a 15-year-old on Boquet Street had multiple gunshot wounds.

ACPD says the incident began at Hook Fish and Chicken before 10 p.m. The 15-year-old is seen on surveillance video entering the restaurant and approaching the counter. The restaurant owner, identified as Mohammad Hamdan, 39, began taking the teen’s order. But, police say the teen reached over the counter and took a tip jar, then turned for the exit.

Police say Hamdan then raised a pistol and fired at least three rounds at the teen. The teen was taken to a hospital with multiple gunshot wounds and is in stable condition. A criminal complaint states he was shot multiple times in his right arm and once in his right shoulder blade.

ACPD says after reviewing the surveillance footage and talking to witnesses, detectives found no evidence that the teen was armed or threatened Hamdan. Police then consulted with the district attorney’s office, who approved charging Hamdan with aggravated assault.

A criminal complaint also alleges Hamdan told investigators he saw the teen and the teen’s brother earlier in the day and “expected them to try and steal from him.”

Hamdan was arrested Sunday morning and is being held in the Allegheny County Jail pending his preliminary arraignment.

“It’s a little disheartening that people’s first response is violence,” said Eszquire Harris, the CEO of The BlackTeaBrownSuga Network, which is a few doors down from the restaurant.

Harris is focused on keeping at-risk kids in his community on the right track and out of trouble. He teaches youth their worth and connects with them over music through his multimedia production company.

“They’re hurting, so to be able to connect with them when they are the most vulnerable instead of attacking them has allowed us to establish genuine relationships with them,” Harris said. “I’m always out here supporting them, loving them, communicating with them. ‘How’s life? How’s school?”

Harris was troubled to hear what happened Saturday night.

“Hearing a kid get shot over money who could’ve lost his life over money, when I know a lot of these kids in this community, they’re struggling to survive,” Harris said.

The BlackTeaBrownSuga Network COO Aaleah Oliver said, “It’s pretty shocking and also deeply saddening.”

But a co-owner of the restaurant tells me Hamdan wasn’t trying to hurt the kid.

He claims Hamdan was only trying to stop him by firing warning shots -adding that he came in three different times that night - twice with a group.

The co-owner says the boy ran off with the tip jar that had about a hundred dollars inside.

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