SAN JACINTO: Business owner, 52, arrested after chasing, shooting fleeing burglar

SAN JACINTO — A 52-year-old business owner is in jail after officials say he shot at and injured a person this morning outside the San Jacinto resident’s business on the 700 block of San Jacinto Ave in San Jacinto. Officials later learned the owner had chased and shot at two people who had just allegedly stolen merchandise from the man’s store. One of the alleged suspects turned out to be just 16-years-old.

52-year-old Nabeel Qandah was arrested after he allegedly shot at two fleeing burglars, hitting one of them. RSO booking photo

Deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s San Jacinto Police Station responded to Soboba Smoke Shop shortly before 11:30 a.m., after they were notified regarding a burglary and shots fired at the location, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Robert Duckett explained in a press release this evening.

Deputies investigating the incident learned the smoke shop’s owner, Nabeel M. Qandah, caught two people stealing boxes of butane from his store but when he attempted to stop the pair they fled from the business, running towards a waiting car.

With Qandah hot on their heels, the alleged burglars – Juan Miguel Macias, 41, from San Jacinto and a 16-year-old who has not been identified because of his age – jumped into the waiting vehicle and fled from the parking lot, at which time Qandah reportedly shot at the fleeing subjects.

Deputies arrested the victim of a burglary for assault with a deadly weapon after the business owner reportedly shot at two alleged burglars, injuring one of the subjects. John Strangis/Eye News Media photo

Officials did not disclose how many times Qandah discharged his weapon or what type of weapon he fired, but according to Duckett at least one of the man’s discharged rounds hit their mark.

“A short time later, Macias arrived at a nearby hospital with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to his arm,” Duckett explained.

“The investigation revealed Macias, accompanied by a 16-year-old minor, unlawfully removed the butane from the store without paying,” said Duckett. “As they drove away, it appears Qandah discharged his firearm.”

Deputies investigating the theft and shooting eventually arrested all three involved parties and according to Duckett the trio was in the process of being booked on various charges related to their roles in the incident.

An online jail records search revealed Qandah was arrested at the Hemet Sheriff’s Station in Valle Vista and booked into Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. He remains in custody, held on $25,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned at Southwest Justice Center, Mar. 15.

Macias was expected to be booked on suspicion of burglary and child endangerment and the unidentified juvenile was expected to be booked on suspicion of burglary.

As of this report, jail records indicated Macias had not yet been booked.

News about the shooting and Qandah’s arrest quickly spread from one business owner and manager to another and on different Hemet and San Jacinto community-based social media news groups.

Officials have not specified how many rounds Nabeel Qandah fired at two fleeing subjects, but they later collected at least one shell casing at the scene. John Strangis/Eye News Media photo

In some of the groups people discussed what many area residents claimed to be the continuing decline of “civilized behavior and moral values” within the San Jacinto Valley while in others area residents talked about how much things have improved in recent years and continue to improve.

Hemet resident Richard Grainger, who later explained in a telephone interview that before he retired he owned a small business in an unincorporated area just outside the city limits, was one of many who discussed the incident in an online community news group.

“Good for him! I would have done the same thing,” Grainger wrote online referring to Qandah.

In the online post, Grainger – who later explained his small repair shop was robbed twice and burglarized “more times than he could recall” during the six years his business had been open – wrote, “We’re all fed up. The good citizens of this once proud valley have had enough and are sick and tired of constantly being victimized.”

“But you just watch,” Grainger continued – several hours before hearing about Qandah’s arrest, “this being ‘Commiefornia’ someone will say he went too far or that he shouldn’t have chased those guys out of his shop or shot at them.”

While many echoed Grainger’s sentiments about Qandah, others said the store owner went too far.

“What was he thinking?” San Jacinto resident Deanna Murray asked in one online comment thread.

Saying, “He’s a perfect example why we need better gun laws,” Murray said, “That(‘s) what we have cops for. We don’t live in the wild west anymore.”

In addition to Qandah, deputies arrested Juan Macias, 41, of San Jacinto and an unidentified 16-year-old. John Strangis/Eye News Media photo

“I don’t care what they say (the alleged suspects) were trying to steal. Nothing in that man’s store was possibly worth someone’s life,” Murray continued. “You just don’t chase people down the street shooting at them.”

Regarding deputies’ decision to arrest Qandah as well as the alleged burglars, Duckett explained, “The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department would like to remind firearm owners that ownership comes with a high level of responsibility.”

Later, after learning about Qandah’s arrest, Grainger said that while he wasn’t surprised, the arrest and “whole situation” still “infuriated” him.

“See? This is exactly what I was talking about,” Grainger angrily lamented. “What’s the poor guy (Qandah) supposed to do? How long’s he supposed to just sit back and take it?”

“But I guess we’re all just supposed to accept being victimized,” Grainger concluded.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call Investigators Janecka at the Hemet Sheriff’s Station (951) 791-3400. Callers can refer to incident file number I18071042 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.

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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, who recently moved from Riverside County to Shasta County, runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 grandchildren.

4 comments

  • A business was robbed in Temecula for almost $8,000 worth. Surveillance video gave clear proof, images of the suspects and their vehicle. Police (RSO) declined to pursue. Additionally, several other nearby businesses were burglarized that same night. I love our Police & Sheriffs, but their priorities have become skewed. I’m not sure why or if they even have control over which crimes they pursue. I know that criminals have received the message loud & clear and know which crimes to commit. If the shop owner hadn’t discharged his firearm no charges would be being brought against ANYONE. That guy showing up in the hospital with a GSW is what got this case solved. Not to over simplify the situation, but if the guy hadn’t robbed the place, he wouldn’t have been shot. Please place the blame where it belongs.

  • Veronica Meeker

    What people need to remember is you may only shoot at an intruder if you fear for your life not as they are running or driving away. It is not worth taking a life over a theft.

  • that is bs we do live in Hemet and Hemet has a sense of lawlessness you call the cops and they tell you sorry there is twenty other people that got shot ahead of you and they call you back 6 hrs later to take a phone report and wont even show. We as residents of this valley def need to help out police department that is lacking reaourceas and the only way to protect yourself in this town is to take justice into
    your own hands its sad we cant afford to hire a decent police force. I am originally from Orange County and when you call the police for your neighbor farting too loud twenty cops show up its unfortunate that sense the household income here in these areas are at poverty level or below that really know ones even the cops in Hemet or San Jacinto can help you nor save ou in a emergency situation

  • I don’t trust the cops in Hemet/San Jacinto, because of them, my son is in prison, these cops lie and cover their BS. They are lazy and do not protect anyone but themselves!

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