California security guard who fought customer over face mask gets charged with murder

Umeir Corniche Hawkins charged with murder and his wife, Sabrina Carter
Emeh Joy

A security guard at a Southern California market has been charged with murder after he allegedly fought with a customer who wasn't wearing a face mask.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office reported that Umeir Corniche Hawkins shot the 50-year-old Jerry Lewis on July 5.

Prosecutors said the two men started arguing when Lewis entered the market without a face mask. Lewis did leave the market, but when he came back, they fight continued, and Hawkins shot him fatally as he walked away.

California's governor had issued a statewide order last month ordering that people wear face masks when entering especially indoor spaces to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

Since the mandatory requirement of wearing face masks is taking effect all through the U.S, store employees have been given the difficult task of enforcing those rules and most times; they are often greeted with harsh responses.

A Michigan security guard was fatally shot in May after telling a customer to wear a face mask as mandated by the state order. Another guard in California was left with a broken arm after a fight with customers who refused to wear face masks.

Hawkins has now been charged with murder and possession of a handgun by a felon. His wife, Sabrina Carter, is also charged with one count of possession of a gun by a felon.

The couple was convicted in 2013 for assault using force likely to produce significant bodily injury. Hawkins and his wife Carter, both pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday.

Hawkins is still being held on $1 million bail and faces 50 years in prison if convicted. Carter's bail was placed at the sum of $35,000. She faces up to three years of jail sentence.

The next court hearing for the two is scheduled for July 10.

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