Wife of slain Johnston County clerk still waits for him

Lucia Al-Shami

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The wife of a Johnston County store clerk killed in a robbery last week said she still waits for him to come home.

UPDATE: 3 arrested, 2 charged with murder in fatal shooting of Johnston County store clerk

Lucia Al-Shami said a lot is still a blur from last Thursday night.


“I can’t believe it, I feel like he’s still gonna come home, I wait and wait,” she said. “I just don’t know where to begin.”

Her husband, Esmail or also known as “AB,” worked at the Shop-n-Go across the street from their Zebulon home.

Police said two masked men shot and killed him during the course of a robbery – all while Lucia was on the phone with him.

“I just heard him say, ‘We got cameras, we got cameras, we got cameras!’ I heard a little bit of noise. I didn’t know what was going on and then I heard the gunshots, then a pause, then more gunshots,” Al-Shami said.

In a panic, she rushed out her front door where she saw a dark, four-door sedan speed away.

“My first thought was, ‘I’m not covered.’ I didn’t have my scarf, I was in my pajamas so in my mind maybe nothing happened, since I didn’t see anyone alarmed,” she said.

Al-Shami said she then called 911 to report the gunshots.

Community members gathered Tuesday evening to mourn the loss of AB. (David Hurst/CBS North Carolina)
Community members gathered Tuesday evening to mourn the loss of AB. (David Hurst/CBS North Carolina)

Soon after – the knocks on the front door started.

She had to calm their 6-year-old son before going to the store in hopes of calming herself.

“I don’t know if I already knew, I already felt it but that’s when I started to think the worst,” she said.

On Sunday, AB was buried according to his Islamic faith.

On Tuesday night, hundreds came out to comfort Al-Shami and to remember AB.

RELATED: Johnston County community gathers to mourn slain clerk

He was a familiar face for more than a decade at the popular store.

“They didn’t just take his life, they took part of me,” Al-Shami said. “They took a big part of me.”

AB's ring
AB’s ring

She now wears her husband’s wedding ring for comfort.

Al-Shami said AB left it at the house Thursday before going to work.

“He left his ring, too. He was so late that day I think, he was running up and down, that’s the only thing that he left, his ring,” she said.

Al-Shami said her son also gave something to his dad.

“One thing that surprised me for him being 6 is, he said, ‘My heart goes with him,’ and that really surprised me. That hurt me.”

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