ONLY ON 2: Witness recounts what cameras didn’t capture in deadly shooting of Humble gas station clerk over stolen chips

Mario Young, 17, charged with murder in death of Humble store clerk

HUMBLE, Texas – At 11:25 a.m. Friday, two teens walked through the door of a convenience store in Humble.

Five minutes later, 42-year-old store clerk Asif Maknojia was fatally shot.

Much of what happened in those five minutes was captured on the store’s surveillance cameras.

What the cameras didn’t see was the actual shooting.

But a witness did.

That witness spoke exclusively with KPRC 2 Reporter Corley Peel about what he saw, describing a startling scene he will never forget.

“It feels good to kind of really get it out,” the witness said while sharing his story with Peel. “For others to be able to really hear what happened.”

The 48-year-old, who asked not to be identified, was sitting in his car near the convenience store after finishing a job nearby when he noticed two young men sitting outside the store, drinking Gatorade.

The young men got up and went into the store. What happened inside was captured on surveillance cameras.

How it started

Surveillance video from the Sunoco convenience store on the southbound service road at 18228 Highway 59 shows 17-year-old Mario Young and an 18-year-old, both wearing dark hoodies pulled over their heads, entering the store at 11:25 a.m. They are followed closely by Maknojia, who’s carrying an orange bucket and wearing an orange and black jacket.

NOTE: KPRC 2 is not naming the 18-year-old because he has not been charged in the case.

Maknojia busies himself and cleans the floor but appears to keep an eye on the young men, who wander casually through the store.

About 30 seconds after they enter, Maknojia walks to the back of the store out of sight to get a wheeled bucket and mop, and the teens, appearing to keep an eye on the clerk’s location, continue wandering, concentrating on the chip aisle.

At 11:25:57 a.m., Maknojia wheels the bucket past the end of the chip aisle at the exact moment the 18-year-old reaches down to grab a bag of chips from the bottom row.

With the clerk now two aisles away, the teen closely faces the stand filled with chip bags as he pulls out the waistband of his pants and drops the bag inside, then pulls the waist of his hoodie down to cover it.

Young appears to be keeping an eye out and trying to shield the 18-year-old from sight as he makes the maneuver.

The two teens casually keep wandering in the store, standing in another aisle when Maknojia heads down the chip aisle, passing exactly where the 18-year-old had been standing when he grabbed the chips.

The teens continue “browsing” as a customer enters the store and both the customer and clerk walk toward where the teens are standing before the teens head for the exit.

They walk out of the door 2½ minutes after they walked in.

The next 2½ minutes changed countless lives.

What the cameras didn’t see

The witness who spoke with KPRC 2 said he saw the young men come out of the store, followed seconds later by Maknojia, who the witness recognized as a clerk from being in the store himself earlier.

“I’m just kind of being a little nosy, looking to see what’s going on. He seemed to be confronting the gentlemen about something,” the witness said. “It didn’t seem to be that serious.”

One of the teens, later identified as Young, kept walking around toward the back of the store, but the 18-year-old picked up the bottle of blue Gatorade and pointed at it as Maknojia argued with him.

The witness said his windows were up and he couldn’t hear what they were saying, but based on body language, the teen was acting like the Gatorade was all he had and that he didn’t know what Maknojia was talking about. The witness could tell the clerk thought the teens had taken something, but he didn’t know what.

Maknojia went back into the convenience store, and the 18-year-old joined Young at the back of the building. They walked away together across a small grassy area toward Will Clayton Parkway, and about halfway across the short field, the clerk came back out and yelled at the teens to come back to the store.

They looked back and made an obscene gesture at Maknojia, the witness said.

Maknojia kept yelling at the teens, who started to jog away. Then, the clerk got in his car.

He drove after the teens, pulling alongside them. As the clerk pulled out, so did the witness — but then he heard two gunshots.

He looked back to see one of the teens firing at the clerk’s car. Then the teens split up and ran off in opposite directions, he said.

The witness said Maknojia reversed his car and ended up on a median — and didn’t move again.

He called 911 and headed over to the clerk’s car, approaching cautiously.

He said he put his hands up, unsure if the man in the car also had a weapon, but then while looking through the open passenger window, he realized that Maknojia was slumped over in the driver’s seat, not moving.

“I’m sitting there saying, ‘Hey, buddy. Hey, are you OK?’” the witness said. “When I looked through the window, he seemed to be unresponsive.”

He said he looked around for a gun and didn’t see anything in the man’s hand or on the seat. (The teens have since said that the clerk was also armed and are claiming self-defense in the shooting. The police have not said if a gun was found in the clerk’s car.)

What he did see was bullet holes in the rear passenger side window, the doorframe and the front of the car. He said he’d heard at least five or six shots altogether.

“He was in bad shape,” the witness said, telling 911 that they needed to hurry.

By the time first responders arrived, Maknojia had died.

“If I could go back in time, I would pull out my car and block his car,” the witness said. “Or just said, ‘Hey, man. It’s not worth it.’”

When he learned later that the whole incident started over stolen chips, he was shocked. He said he would have offered to pay for them if he’d known.

“I could never have imagined on this day, on this very day that this would happen over a bag of chips,” he said. “Infinite lives are changed over a bag of chips.”

After a manhunt, Young and the 18-year-old turned themselves in on Sunday with the help of local community activists.

Young has been charged with murder in the shooting.

About the Authors

Corley Peel is a Texas native and Texas Tech graduate who covered big stories in Joplin, Missouri, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jacksonville, Florida before returning to the Lone Star State. When not reporting, Corley enjoys hot yoga, Tech Football, and finding the best tacos in town.

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.

Recommended Videos