A parking dispute that triggered gun play and an attempted robbery has a Leesburg man facing at least three years imprisonment.
On Thursday in Loudoun Circuit Court, a seven-man, five-woman jury deliberated about three hours before finding Migdam Mirghami Mohamed guilty of attempted robbery and use of a firearm in a felony. The sentence for attempted robbery is two to five years, but all the prison time could be suspended. The latter charge has a three-year mandatory minimum.
The convictions are for an incident around 6 p.m. on May 6 of last year outside the Petco at the Dulles Retail Plaza in Sterling. It began when Beau McAdam pulled into the fire lane by the store while his then-15-year-old son went inside to buy a 55-gallon fish tank they’d ordered.
McAdam testified on Tuesday in the first day of the trial that he neglected to activate his hazard lights when he pulled into the space. That angered Mohamed and a man later identified by police as Seondre Ahmad Gambrell. The two men were exiting the parking lot after shopping at the nearby T-Mobile store. The two men argued with McAdam with both men getting out of the car as the argument escalated.
McAdam said he also got out of his vehicle and tried to apologize, but both men continued to threaten him and he worried about his son's safety. McAdam said he retrieved brass knuckles from his car and displayed them to Gambrell and Mohamed. “I said if you don’t get away from my son, I’m not the one who’s going to get his [expletive] whipped,’” McAdam testified.
McAdam said his threat prompted Gambrell to tell Mohamed to get Mohamed’s pistol, which was in the car Gambrell was driving. McAdam said he got back in his car when he heard about the gun and he and his son prepared to drive away when Mohamed stuck his arm in the window of McAdam’s car and pointed the 9 mm semi-automatic pistol at him.
“Mohamed said, ‘Give me everything you got,’” McAdam testified “I said, ‘You ain’t getting [expletive] and I tore [expletive] out of there.”
McAdam said he was pistol-whipped in the face as he drove off. His son called 911 and told police Gambrell and Mohamed were following them. Gambrell — scheduled to stand trial on Nov. 1 — and Mohamed were arrested in Prince William County four hours later.
Alexis M. Downing, a Loudoun County assistant commonwealth’s attorney, told jurors when Gambrell and Mohamed were arrested, they were wearing the same clothing they wore when filmed on the T-Mobile store surveillance video. A 9 mm pistol believed to be the gun used in the robbery was also found when the men were arrested. Besides McAdam, two other witnesses testified they saw Mohamed with a gun and one took a photo of Mohamed on his phone that jurors were shown.
Despite the evidence, defense attorney Benjamin Griffits said there was enough reasonable doubt to acquit Mohamed. He said the description one of the witnesses gave of the type of pistol was different from the one found by police. Griffits said it was uncertain if Mohamed was actually the man who pointed the gun at McAdam and he questioned why McAdam never mentioned the robbery threat in the 911 call.
“There is significant doubt about the way he described what happened,” Griffits told jurors during closing arguments. “You don’t have to like Migdam Mohamed and you don’t have to like me. You’re not condoning that behavior by saying the prosecution did not meet their burden.”
Downing countered that after McAdam fled the scene and was interviewed by a deputy, he said Mohamed tried to rob him. She said it was understandable that the attempted robbery wasn’t mentioned by McAdam or his son during the 911 call.
“There are people being actively pursued and afraid of being shot,” she said. “The fact that he didn’t say, ‘He tried to rob me,’ is not something you should give great weight to.”
State sentencing guideline recommendations haven’t been calculated for Mohamed who is scheduled to be sentenced at 1 p.m. on Jan. 5. The guidelines will factor the 22-year-old's criminal history into the calculations.
In 2019, Mohamed was convicted of an amended charge of grand larceny over a 2018 crime in which he was initially charged with robbery. Mohamed wrapped his arm around the victim who was in a car and put a knife to the man’s throat. He then fled with the man’s marijuana and wallet. Sean Anthony Houlihan was convicted of stealing property for assisting Mohamed.
In 2020, Mohamed was charged with unlawful distribution of a controlled substance after allegedly providing fentanyl to Houlihan who fatally overdosed on the drug. The drug case against Mohamed is pending.
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