California security guard charged with murder after facemask dispute

A California security guard has been charged with murder after allegedly shooting a man dead during a dispute over a facemask.

Umeir Hawkins, 32, was working as a guard in a market in Gardena Sunday when he began arguing with Jerry Lewis, 50, after he entered the store without a mask, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Lewis decided to visit the store as he was waiting for a tow truck to repair two flat tires on his vehicle, police told the local CBS affiliate. Under the state’s face-covering mandate, all residents must wear a mask while inside most public spaces.

Lewis then left the store, but returned later and got into a physical fight with Hawkins. As Lewis was walking away, Hawkins drew a gun and shot Lewis, who was pronounced dead at the scene, prosecutors allege.

Hawkins’ wife, Sabrina Carter, 50, was also charged in connection to Lewis’ killing. Carter had been waiting in the parking lot for Hawkins to finish his shift when the fight broke out, the station reported.

Carter allegedly intervened in the brawl, drawing a second firearm and pointing it at Lewis and other shoppers in the store as the two men fought — though she did not fire her weapon, police told the station.

Both Hawkins and Carter were convicted in 2013 for assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, according to prosecutors.

She faces one count of possession of a handgun by a felon, as does Hawkins in addition to his murder charge.

Hawkins and Carter pleaded not guilty to the charges Wednesday. Bail for Hawkins, who faces up to life in prison, is set at $1 million and bail for Carter, who faces three years behind bars, is set at $30,000.


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