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Off-Duty Security Guard Charged with Murder of 17-Year-Old Boy Returning Airsoft Gun

In a tragic and disturbing incident, an: off-duty security guard in Seattle has been charged with the murder of a teenage boy who was attempting to return a defective airsoft gun to a sporting goods store. The events unfolded last Wednesday evening at a Big 5 Sporting Goods branch in Renton, Washington, resulting in the death of 17-year-old Hazrat Ali Rohani.

Incident Details

On the night of the incident, 51-year-old Aaron Brown Myers approached Rohani and his friends with a real firearm in hand. Despite not being hired to protect the store, Myers claimed he was conducting “overwatch” in the parking lot due to the frequent crimes he believed occurred there. According to court documents and a police statement, Myers threatened the teenagers, demanding they drop their airsoft guns, which are toy replica firearms that shoot plastic pellets.

Surveillance footage shows that despite one teenager complying by placing his airsoft gun on the ground and the others showing their empty hands, Myers escalated the situation. He tackled one of the boys and then proceeded to shoot Rohani multiple times, resulting in the teenager’s death.

Legal Proceedings

Following the incident, Myers told investigators he believed the group was about to commit a robbery and said he felt a duty to act because he did not have time to call 911. However, prosecutors contested this narrative, stating that Myers had no authority to engage the teenagers and that his actions were unnecessarily violent and reckless.

Off-Duty Security Guard Charged with Murder
Off-Duty Security Guard Charged with Murder Sources

“The defendant took it upon himself to conduct ‘overwatch’ in a Renton parking lot, despite the fact that he is not a member of law enforcement and thus has not been trained in how to safely prevent crime,” prosecutors argued. They further clarified that the surveillance footage contradicted Myers’ account, showing that the teenagers were compliant and posed no threat when Myers decided to escalate the confrontation.

A judge has set Myers’ bail at $2 million to prevent him from fleeing or committing further acts of violence. Prosecutors also highlighted a previous incident in 2022, where Myers followed a random citizen through two stores, wrongly believing they had a gun, and told a dispatcher that he might have to shoot.

Community Response for Hazrat Ali Rohani

The local community has been left in shock and mourning over Rohani’s death. Two separate vigils were held for other young victims of gun violence in the area, including 13-year-old Aayden Hayes and 17-year-old Amarr Murphy-Paine, underscoring the recent tragedies affecting Seattle’s youth.

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Myers, described as distraught and crying post-arrest, initially told police he was a licensed security guard voluntarily monitoring the parking lot. However, the lack of proper training and the aggressive manner in which he handled the situation have raised significant questions about the responsibilities and limits of civilian intervention in perceived criminal activities.

This case serves as a sobering reminder of the potential consequences of untrained individuals taking law enforcement into their own hands. As the legal process continues, the focus remains on achieving justice for Hazrat Ali Rohani and addressing the broader issues of gun violence and unauthorized use of force by civilians.