Security guard charged with murder after fighting with customer over face mask rules


Umeir Hawkins, left, and Sabrina Carter, right, are seen in booking photos released by Gardena police.

April 05 2021 05:30 pm

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — A security guard at a California market faces murder charges after allegedly fighting with a customer who was not wearing a face mask.

Prosecutors filed charges against Umeir Corniche Hawkins, 38, and his wife after the dispute on July 5 ended with 50-year-old Jerry Lewis being fatally shot, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

The incident began when Lewis apparently entered a market without a face covering. The lack of a mask led to a confrontation between the defendant and the victim, according to the DA’s Office.

Lewis left the store but returned. The pair then began to fight, officials said.

That’s when 50-year-old Sabrina Carter — who was in the parking lot as she waited for her husband to get off work — armed herself and pointed the gun at the victim and other customers, according to the Gardena Police Department. Her intervention caused the fight to end.

As Lewis was walking away, Hawkins produced a firearm and allegedly opened fire on the victim, hitting him in the lower part of his body, police said. Lewis died at the scene.

Hawkins was charged with murder and possession of a handgun by a felon, a DA’s news release stated. Carter has also been charged with one count of possession of a handgun by a felon. Both pleaded not guilty when they appeared in court Wednesday.

Both defendants have a previous assault conviction from 2013, according to the felony complaint.

Hawkins faces a possible maximum sentence of 50 years to life in prison if convicted. He was held on $1 million bail. Carter faces up to three years in prison, and her bail was set at $35,000.

The pair are scheduled to return to L.A. County Superior Court on Friday.

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