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Robber shot owner of Y&S Supermarket over $8

TAMPA — First, the police called to say they had shot the man suspected of wounding her husband in a robbery.

Hours later, Ibtisam Sara heard on the news that suspect Carlos Roberto Laboy had died.

"Thank God he's dead," she said Wednesday afternoon at the neighborhood store where her husband was shot. "Now he cannot get out of jail and kill someone."

But even this news can't heal her reeling family.

Yasin Sara, 55, was shot in the abdomen Aug. 17 when someone tried to rob Y&S Supermarket at 1202 E Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

He was in critical but stable condition Wednesday at St. Joseph's Hospital. He remains attached to an oxygen machine.

Ibtisam Sara, 45, said her children were in the store's kitchen with her the day of the shooting.

She heard someone say, "Give me the money." Her husband replied, "I don't have it." Then she heard a shot.

Sara rushed to find her husband prone, a gash on his head and blood pouring from his shirt.

She ran to neighbors and called police, then went to wait with her husband for an ambulance.

Police said Yasin Sara had come around the counter possibly to confront the robber. But the notion that her husband tried to fight doesn't sit well with her. There was only $8 in the register.

"My husband would not risk his life for $8," she said. "He said he didn't have any money. This person had no heart at all."

She's certain Laboy had no previous relationship with the store. His photo was unfamiliar, and regulars knew that Sara's two children, ages 6 and 7, are always in the store.

Neighbors stopped by to get updates on Yasin Sara's condition Wednesday and to offer support. Customers spoke of how kind he is.

"Someone who knew my husband could never have shot him. Everyone here loves him. He gave customers credit and didn't care if they were short 5 cents or 10 cents. They loved his sandwiches. They've been good to us," Ibtisam Sara said.

The couple has been married 25 years. After leaving Jerusalem, they opened a pizza shop in Connecticut. But the cold weather persuaded the Saras to head south. Yasin Sara spent six years working in a convenience store on N 22nd Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard before he opened Y & S 12 years ago.

"He always wanted to be his own boss. He didn't want to work for someone else," his wife said.

And he worked often. Every day from sun up to sun down, he ran the deli and counter.

This wasn't the first time the store had been robbed. In June 2010, burglars cut a hole in the concrete rear wall and stole nearly $20,000 worth of cigarettes and beer, Ibtisam Sara said.

Now, she looks back upon that experience as far less devastating. Friday is her daughter's eighth birthday.

"This is the first year we won't celebrate," she said.

Robber shot owner of Y&S Supermarket over $8 08/24/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 11:27pm]
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