Store proprietor jailed after shooting suspected thief

Police nab suspect at area hospital after he arrives with gunshot wound

Photo by Chris Smith/The Valley Chronicle
The smoke shop that was the scene of the theft and subsequent shooting.

■ THE VALLEY CHRONICLE STAFF

Riverside County sheriff’s deputies arrested and jailed a store proprietor after he took a shot at, and apparently hit, a man who stole merchandise from his store, according to deputies.
At 11:20 a.m., Monday, March 12, sheriff’s deputies went to the 700 block of S. San Jacinto Avenue, on a call of a reported burglary and shots fired.
According to a sheriff’s press release, deputies found that shop owner Nabeel Qandah, 42, of San Jacinto—later determined by the Valley Chronicle to be the proprietor of the Soboba Smoke Shop, 726 S. San Jacinto Ave.—had chased two males from his store after they were seen stealing a couple boxes of butane used to power cigarette lighters.
According to deputies, Qandah attempted to stop the pair but they quickly got into a waiting vehicle and sped away. Out of apparent frustration, Qandah fired his handgun at the vehicle as it sped away down the street, according to police.
A short time later, Juan Miguel Macias, 41, of San Jacinto, arrived at a nearby hospital with a gunshot wound to his arm that police described as non-life- threatening. An investigation revealed Macias, accompanied by a 16-year-old youth, had “unlawfully removed the butane from the store without paying,” according to deputies.
As they left the scene of the theft, Qandah’s gunfire at the vehicle apparently resulted in a bullet hitting Macias in the arm, police believe.
Although initiated by the thieves, the incident landed Qandah in the Riverside County Jail for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon, police reported. Macias and the juvenile were also arrested and likely will be charged with investigation of burglary and child endangerment, police said. A call to the smoke shop on Tuesday by The Valley Chronicle revealed that Qandah had been released from jail, was back at the store, but was not taking calls.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department took the opportunity to remind citizens who own firearms that ownership comes with a “high level of responsibility.” Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to call investigator Janecka at the Hemet Sheriff’s Station 951-791-3400.

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