Ruling: Self-Defense Led To Fatal Shooting

CLEVELAND – Cuyahoga County prosecutors decided that a store clerk who fatally shot a teen-age robbery suspect in May was acting out of self-defense, Action News' Ed Gallek reported.

Action News was first to report the development in a story that Action News broke two months ago.

The shooting sparked tension in the Cleveland neighborhood near East 156th Street and Lakeshore Boulevard, where the convenience store is located. Some people felt that the clerk didn't need to shoot 16-year-old Alphanza Means (pictured, above) two times despite the fact that Means was armed and was demanding money.

Action News told Means' stepmother about Tuesday's decision that the shooting was justified. It wasn't what she wanted to hear.

Roxanne Oliver was so stunned by the news that she could not immediately respond. Once she collected herself, she openly questioned the amount of retaliatory force used by the clerk.

"I just don't understand 'justified' as far as what they consider justified," Oliver said. "If it only took one bullet, that would have been different, but it took two."

There was a very different reaction when Action News told people at the store what prosecutors had decided. The clerk who fired at Means was said to be out of town, but his father, Asad Saad, called the decision a relief.

"The main thing is that he tried to save himself," Saad said.

Saad said that his son has had many sleepless nights since the shooting, but added that should the same scenario present itself, store employees would act in a similar fashion.

"When we have to use (a gun), we are going to use it," Saad said. "If somebody tries to take my life, I have to (use a gun)."

Prosecutors said that the ruling was made based on witness statements and in-store security video.