A California security guard has been charged with murder after shooting dead a customer for not wearing a face mask.
Umeir Corniche Hawkins, 38, allegedly shot Jerry Lewis, 50, as he was walking away from him following a fight inside the Green Farm Market in Gardena, Los Angeles, Sunday night.
Hawkins’ wife, Sabrina Carter, 50, has also been charged with one count of possession of a handgun by a felon after she allegedly pulled out a firearm during the altercation between the two men.
Umeir Corniche Hawkins, 38, (left) of Gardena, Los Angeles, allegedly shot Jerry Lewis, 50, as he was walking away from him following a fight inside the Green Farm Market Sunday night. Hawkins’ wife, Sabrina Carter, 50, (right) allegedly pulled out a firearm during the altercation between the two men
The fatal shooting unfolded when Lewis entered the market where Hawkins works as a security guard not wearing a face mask sometime before 7p.m.
Authorities said Wednesday Lewis had entered the market while he was waiting for a tow truck for his vehicle, which had two flat tires.
Hawkins allegedly told Lewis he needed to wear a face mask and an argument broke out between the two men.
Lewis left the store but returned soon after and he and Hawkins fought again, police said.
At this point, Carter allegedly pulled out a handgun to defend her husband, pointing it at Lewis and other customers inside the market.
Authorities said this broke up the fight and Lewis began walking away from Hawkins in the direction of his vehicle.
But Hawkins followed him and, once outside the store, he allegedly pulled his own gun and shot Lewis as the victim was walking away.
Hawkins was arrested Monday and charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office with murder and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Carter was charged with one charge of felon in possession of a firearm.
The fatal shooting unfolded when the victim entered the Green Farm Market (pictured) in Gardena, LA, where Hawkins works as a security guard not wearing a face mask
This comes after the husband and wife team were convicted back in 2013 for assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury.
They both pleaded not guilty to the new charges in Torrance Superior Court Wednesday.
Hawkins is being held in jail on $1 million bail and faces up to 50 years to life in state prison if convicted.
Carter’s bail is set at $35,000 and she faces up to three years in prison.
Their next court appearance has been scheduled for July 10.
California Governor Newsom last month issued a statewide order requiring residents to wear masks in most indoor public areas, as well as outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible as coronavirus cases surged across the state.
California Governor Newsom (pictured) last month issued a statewide order requiring residents to wear masks in most indoor public areas, as well as outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible as coronavirus cases surged across the state
The governor said too many people were going out in public without face coverings as businesses, restaurants and other sectors of the economy reopen.
The order requires people to wear masks when inside or in line for any indoor public spaces, including hospital and pharmacy visits.
It also applies to ‘high-risk’ situations outdoors such as waiting for or riding public transportation where it’s not possible to stay six feet apart from others.
While mask requirements differ state-to-state, workers have often been tasked with enforcing either local or business rules.
Back in May, a security guard at a Los Angeles Target store was left with a broken arm after a fight with two customers who allegedly refused to wear masks under the store rules.