Convenience store shooting started over pack of cigarettes, witnesses say

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Witnesses say a clerk at a southwest Houston convenience store shot and killed a man over a pack of cigarettes.

A southwest Houston convenience store employee shot and killed a man who darted behind the counter where he was working following a dispute over cigarettes, according to witnesses.

It happened Saturday night at Sunny's Food Mart near Buffalo Speedway and West Orem.

Surveillance video shows the man disappear behind the counter. The shooting takes place out of frame, but witnesses can be seen running after the shots were fired.

Michael Labom watched it all unfold from just feet away. He said the man didn't pay for cigarettes but wanted the clerk to hand them over.

"When he went behind the counter, the dude working behind the counter cocked the gun and said pow, pow, pow," he said. "I told the police he [was] dead. I knew he was dead from looking at him."

A man who worked with the clerk but was not present at the time of the incident said the space behind the counter is small and there's only one entrance. He said he understands why the clerk would be afraid.

Witnesses said Houston police officers happened to be just outside the store when the shooting happened.

"I think it was very foolish of him going behind the counter knowing. He wasn't thinking or something. Wasn't thinking at all. And I also think it was foolish man working back there because the owner told him if anything goes down just call 911," Labom said.

The clerk was not hurt. He was questioned by police, but it will be up to a grand jury to decide whether he'll face charges.

"Dead over a pack of cigarettes. [He] lost his life. It's a shame," Labom said.

The deceased man's name has not been released.
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