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‘I have employees who want to come back’: Arab-American store owners say city targets their business after fatal shooting

CHICAGO (CBS) — Targeted with a rifle in broad daylight.

A man shot and left for dead at a gas station on Chicago’s West Side. So why is the business shut down by the city?

CBS 2’s Steven Graves explains why its owners call it discrimination.

Crime scene tape is still blocking this gas station two days after the shooting. No one is let in. It’s closed and the owners say they have no reason to be punished, based on what’s being filmed.

On surveillance video, a man is seen standing on a sidewalk. Another man pursues him with what appears to be a gun. He shoots the victim at least five times at close range.

The man slowly dies in Suhail Assaf’s Humboldt Park gas station lot in West Chicago and Hamlin.

“We have voluntarily closed for two days to give the police time to investigate.”

But these two days become even longer. Now that orange closing sticker is out of town.

“You have to request a hearing and it could take them five days for a hearing,” co-owner Ahmed Mohsin said.
“I have employees who want to come back, I have no answer for them.”

The sticker indicates that the closure is due to a violent offense committed in the establishment. It is not known if another car leaving the parking lot was involved. But the owners say the victim was not originally on their property before the shooting.

“It is the same distance from the business next door. Why did they close us,” Assaf asked.

The Arab-American Chamber of Commerce has a hunch. He said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot used to primarily target Arab and Muslim gas station owners as a crime deterrent.

Last September, several minority owners called her out for shutting them down under the guise of what they call petty violations.


‘Why did they shut us down’

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The chamber said many had reopened. But now a dozen more closure complaints about an alleged crime have come in since April.

Although these owners have added security, surveillance cameras and helped the police to fight crime.

“Everything from begging, loitering. It’s not on our property per se, but it’s in our neighborhood. We were afraid it might happen eventually,” Mohsin said.

Currently, there are plans for another public forum next week where other business owners will speak. Those who claim to be also victims of discrimination. CBS 2 requests data on any previous crime at this gas station.

The city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection said in the case that it was following an order from the police commissioner and continued to work with gas station owners across the city on practices sure.