He sighed as he watched the security video again. Jason Habib shuddered as someone hit his employee in the head.
Habib owns 7-Eleven and the Shell gas station on Palm Avenue in Egger Highlands, near Imperial Beach. He said shortly after midnight on August 17, a group of eight people entered his store and began vandalizing shelves and stealing items. Habib said the two employees asked them to leave. Security video shows one of them punching an employee in the face. This led to a fight in a candy aisle as employees tried to drag the group out of the store.
Habib said the employees called the police and then him after the group left.
“I immediately knew something was wrong because I don’t get calls that late,” Habib said. “For me it’s more about keeping them safe because I don’t care about things that have been stolen.”
Habib said it was the second time in just a few weeks that the same group had caused trouble inside 7-Eleven.
“They vandalized the store, stole a bunch of stuff and left,” he said.
He said his employees recognized them and asked them to leave. That’s when the melee began. Security video shows a fight in an aisle as two people went behind the counter to steal items.
Habib said he didn’t blame the San Diego Police Department, but he wished they could patrol the area more.
“They are understaffed, there is a lot of pressure on them, obviously they have to take calls first. So what can we do as a community to stop this? ” he said.
Habib said the SDPD apprehended four members of the group and brought them back to 7-Eleven where employees positively identified them all. Habib said they were all under 17. NBC 7 has contacted the San Diego police but they have yet to confirm those details.
Habib wondered why a group of so many young people would go out after midnight on a school night.
“The school can’t do much. The police can’t do much. It starts at home. Parents need to do a better job,” he said.
Meanwhile, Habib said the woman who was punched is feeling better and is expected to return to work on Tuesday.
“I felt very bad,” Habib said. “It is my responsibility to make sure they are safe.”