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Employees said smoke shop was robbed, witness says

Crime scene tape is stretched in from of Oasis Smoke Shop and Hooka Lounge on the 8200 block of Menaul NE after police found a man dead inside on Sunday. (Ryan Boetel/Albuquerque Journal)
Crime scene tape is stretched in from of Oasis Smoke Shop and Hooka Lounge on the 8200 block of Menaul NE after police found a man dead inside on Sunday. (Ryan Boetel/Albuquerque Journal)
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Copyright © 2014 Albuquerque Journal

The woman who called police Sunday afternoon regarding a robbery at Oasis Smoke Shop and Hooka Lounge said the employees were already shaken up and talking about a robbery when she walked in at about 1:20 p.m.

But at that point, no shooting had occurred.

When she walked in, two male employees said they had just been robbed, and that she should go hide in the back for her own safety, she told the Journal on Monday.

She said she left the store and then saw a man dressed in denim walk past her while putting a mask over his face. She said she saw him pull a gun out as he walked into the store.

She quickly left the area and called police; she said she didn’t hear any gunshots.

“He must have already robbed them, and then for some reason, I don’t know why, he came back,” she said.

While Albuquerque police declined to release many details, a police report confirmed that a smoke shop employee shot and killed the armed robber, who was wearing a black and white scarf to cover his face.

The man died in the smoke shop, in the 8200 block of Menaul NE.

Albuquerque police interviewed two men in connection to the incident on Sunday, but they were released Sunday night, said Officer Tanner Tixier, a police spokesman. He said no one has been charged with a crime.

Tixier said police have tentatively identified the dead man, but officers haven’t contacted his next of kin. He said police are waiting for the Office of the Medical Investigator to confirm the man’s identity before it is released.

Police said a woman called police at about 1:20 p.m. after she walked into the business during the robbery and fled. She only saw the robber carrying a gun, according to a police computer-aided dispatch report.

That woman described what occurred at the shop in a phone interview with the Journal on Monday.

Police also received an advisory from the smoke shop’s alarm company that stated the offender had been shot and was “bleeding out,” according to the report.

A police spokesman said Sunday that a man was killed during a robbery gone wrong, but police haven’t released additional details about the incident. Tixier, on Monday, said it was still under investigation and he didn’t confirm the information stated in the police’s reports on the incident, or say whether the two men interviewed were employees.

Taylor Sadler, a former Oasis employee, said Sunday that the business was burglarized several months ago and the owner started to talk about having store managers carry firearms.

The smoke shop’s alarm has been triggered six times in 2014 and police have been called to the shop because of suspicious people four times, according to police records.

No one at the smoke shop answered the phone Monday. And a message left with employees for the owner was not returned. Hussein Queis is the incorporator and president of the business, according to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s website.

The business sells tobacco and smoking accessories, such as glass pipes. It is also a hookah lounge.

APD's Mobile Crime Lab was parked near of Oasis Smoke Shop and Hooka Lounge on the 8200 block of Menaul NE after police found a man dead inside of the shop on Sunday. (Ryan Boetel/Journal)

APD’s Mobile Crime Lab was parked near of Oasis Smoke Shop and Hooka Lounge on the 8200 block of Menaul NE after police found a man dead inside of the shop on Sunday. (Ryan Boetel/Journal)

 

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