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Former Black Employee at New Hampshire Restaurant Claims Owner’s Arab Son Shot Him Over Argument About Appropriating Black Culture: ‘You’ll Never Be Me’

A Black man who was shot three time outside of a restaurant in downtown Manchester, New Hampshire, last week believes his assailant, who is Arab, was upset because the Black man called him out for appropriating Black culture.

“I exiled him from Black culture,” 48-year-old Sean Brown told the Union Leader. “I told him ‘You’ll never be me — you’re banished from hip-hop.’” The South Bronx native said white artists who cashed in on hip-hop culture haven’t given his neighborhood due credit.

The injuries Brown sustained outside of the USA Chicken and Biscuit restaurant where he used to work left him with internal injuries that required multiple surgeries.

On May 10, Brown visited the restaurant on Elm Street to pick up his final paycheck after calling ahead of time. Zabayullah Qahir, the 29-year-old son of the restaurant owner, allegedly kept him waiting for about 30 minutes. Qahir had recently fired Brown, police reports say. Brown went inside the restaurant, asked for his money, then went back outside.

Zabayullah Qahir was charged with first-degree assault after shooting Sean Brown. (Photo: WMUR-TV YouTube screenshot)

According to Brown, Qahir eventually came outside, told him he wasn’t getting his money, and used racial slurs and profanity. Brown became upset, and accused Qahir of appropriating the culture of urban Black youth by mimicking their slang, cadence and gestures. Brown also taunted the man for selling chicken and called him a coward.

Brown said Qahir tried to punch him but missed. When Brown tried to walk away, Qahir told him to wait then entered the restaurant. When he returned at about 6:15, he had a gun in his hand, and fired twice. Brown said Qahir then walked up to him while he was on the ground and fired a third time. According to police reports, several people witnessed the shooting.

One witness told police that a man identified at Qahir used slurs to address the man he was arguing with.

A DoorDash driver in the restaurant at the time said Qahir told him to “Get out of my way,” when he tried to stop him from retuning outside with the weapon.

A man said “he and another person in the store told him to stop but they did not intervene any further because he appeared extremely mad and was nervous about what might happen if he tried to stop him.”

He added, “Qahir then stepped outside the restaurant and, without saying a word, shot the victim.”

When police arrived in response to reports of shots fired, first responders provided first aid to Brown and transported him to Elliot Hospital.

Brown, struck in the chest, abdomen, and leg, underwent two surgeries to repair damage to his diaphragm, small intestine and pancreas but has been released from the hospital.

An attorney for Qahir, who faces three first-degree assault charges, said his client acted in self-defense.

MPD Detective Jack Wagoner said the witness statements contradict the self-defense argument because Brown did not follow Qahir back into the restaurant. Qahir was also allegedly angry about comments Brown had previously made to his sister over the phone, but Brown says he had never spoken to her.

Brown believes he is the victim of a hate crime and said Qahir should be charged with attempted murder. Police said Qahir’s charges could be upgraded.

Qahir pleaded not guilty to the charges and was ordered held on preventive detention.

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