A Tampa man received an alert Tuesday of intruders in his Bradenton smoke shop. As he activated the live video, he watched two men force his brother to the ground with guns trained as they attempted to rob the store.
When deputies arrived, 23-year-old Mohammed Hamed was found lying in the back room of the Green Galaxy Smoke shop, shot and killed.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office released information on the robbery-gone-wrong in a news release early Wednesday. Thursday morning, the smoke shop in Oasis Plaza was still humming with police activity and by Friday, one suspect, 20-year-old Amado Alexander Zeppi, was in custody.
“We’re still trying to find two other guys,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Randy Warren said. “But we have Zeppi, who we are very confident is the guy who shot our victim.”
Zeppi was charged with second-degree murder.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the unidentified man called 911 around 11 p.m. Tuesday stating he was watching remote surveillance video of two people pointing guns at his brother.
The Sheriff’s Office released images from the video showing two people in the store heavily shrouded in hoods and masks. One suspect is seen holding an SKS rifle with a bayonet attachment.
Letitia Parker was at the scene of the shooting Wednesday morning. She told the Bradenton Herald she’s known the brothers since they opened the business about a year ago. Hamed was the first friend she made when moving from Seattle to Bradenton.
“I can’t believe this,” Parker said. “He was a very gentle person. He was so kind.”
Parker said Hamed had a room set up in the back for him to sleep and play video games.
Though the brothers made Tampa their home, neighbors of the business told the Herald someone tried to break into the shop through a vacant adjacent business, prompting the overnight stays.
“The day after they opened, someone broke into the empty space next door to them through a window and went through the wall to get into their business,” Fred Villalobos said. “These walls are basically nothing and would be easy to get through. I heard that one or two of their family were staying inside the business because of that break-in.”
Warren said that break-in was never reported to authorities.