An off-duty security guard is charged with murder for shooting a 17-year-old returning a BB gun to a sports store

An off-duty security guard in Seattle has been charged with murdering a teenage boy who was returning a defective airsoft gun to a sporting goods store

Hazrat Ali Rohani, 17, was visiting a Big 5 branch in Renton, Washington, with his friends last Wednesday night when Aaron Brown Myers, 51, approached the group with a real gun in his hand, according to court documents.

Even though he was not hired to guard the store and did not have the authority to give them orders, Myers allegedly threatened the boys into dropping the “gun,” knocked one of them to the ground, and ultimately shot Rohani at least seven times.

He later told investigators that he believed the teenagers were about to commit a robbery and he felt an “obligation to act,” claiming they repeatedly ignored his orders to surrender.

However, according to a police statement, surveillance footage contradicts Myers’ account of the events Independent.

“The defendant took it upon himself to conduct ‘surveillance’ in a Renton parking lot even though he is not a member of law enforcement and therefore has not been trained in safe crime prevention,” prosecutors said in a motion filed in court Monday.

“The defendant attacked three teenagers who had committed no crime and escalated with increasing violence at each stage of the interaction, culminating in him taking the life of a seventeen-year-old (Rohani).”

Prosecutors asked a judge to set Myers’ bail at $2 million to prevent him from fleeing or committing other violent crimes.

They added that in 2022, Myers followed a random citizen through two stores because he mistakenly believed he had a gun. In this incident, he called 911 and allegedly told the dispatcher he “might have to shoot.”

Monday’s charges came after two separate vigils were held nearby for Aayden Hayes, a 13-year-old shot and killed in Bellevue on May 29, and Amarr Murphy-Paine, a 17-year-old killed while trying to break up a fight during lunch break at a high school in Seattle.

In a statement filed by the Renton Police Department, investigators said Myers was “distraught and crying” after his arrest and had to give him a trash can to vomit into.

When he calmed down, he told investigators he was a licensed security guard and was voluntarily on “watch” in the parking lot because he had witnessed “numerous crimes” there.

Myers said he thought the boys were carrying a Glock and “felt like he didn’t have time to call 911.” He came up behind them and threatened them with a gun, telling them to drop their weapons.

The police report shows that Myers claimed that none of the teenagers ever complied with his command to put their hands up.

However, surveillance footage allegedly showed one of the teenagers placing a gun on the ground and two of them – including Rohani – responding to Myers’ orders by placing their hands in front of their bodies and straightening their fingers to show they did not have weapons on them.

“Despite their compliance, the defendant further escalated the situation by punching (one of the teens) and pinning him to the ground while still holding a gun pointed at (the other) teens,” prosecutors said.

“He claimed he did this to prevent (the first boy) from reaching for the airsoft gun he had already placed on the ground, but he failed to take the obvious step of securing the toy gun, instead attacking the teenager who was carrying it.”

At that point, Myers told police one of the teens reached into his waistband for a gun and did not stop when ordered to do so. Myers feared for his life and shot the boy “multiple times.”

Police said surveillance footage showed the boy’s right hand “briefly falling to his waist” before he was shot.

For their part, the two surviving teens told police that they repeatedly informed Myers that they only had “BB guns.”

An airsoft gun is a replica of a gun that fires plastic balls and is used in non-lethal shooting matches similar to paintball. In ordinary contexts they are often referred to as BB guns.

This story was updated at 7:37 p.m. PT on Monday, June 10, 2024, to include newly released details about Myers’ allegations.